Don’t homeschool your kids, please.

[UPDATE: here's GetReligion's take]

I should clarify my title. It’s perfectly fine for you to homeschool your kids if you’re LDS or mainstream Protestant or even agnostic or atheist. But if, Dear Reader, you happen to be a Muslim, then please don’t homeschool your kids.

Like some others, I was dismayed by the recent California ruling which purports to essentially end the practice of homeschooling in that state. Why, I said, that’s outrageous! I should have the right to make sure my child gets a good education in my home, safe from the drugs, sex and mayhem of the public schools. I felt indignant — safely indignant, of course, since I’m in Washington state, but still.

This morning I read through the NY Times, and came across this article regarding how many Muslims are preferring now to homeschool their children, in order to give them an upbringing more in accordance with relevant shari’a and away from the polluting influences of the West. It brought to mind a news article in the BCC sidebar about the efforts of the Oxford Central Mosque to establish muzzein loudspeakers in the town. I suddenly felt suspicious and hesitant to support homeschooling — for Muslims — as it could contribute to the social insularity and disconnect which plagues Muslims throughout the West. Partially these feelings stem from concern for Muslims getting branded as terrorists and harassed; partially I’m afraid I am xenophobic and fear that an Islamic homeschooling means a multiplicity of terror madrassas, sown amongst an unsuspecting Lodi, CA populace.

The notion occurs to me: some people probably feel the same about Mormon homeschoolings. I’m not sure if that’s really true, but it gives me pause nonetheless. And it makes me suspicious that what’s really going on in my mind is little more than a faux liberalism that pretends to say, you are free to do as you please but in reality adds the postscript, so long as it’s what I would do. Another layer of hypocrisy for our modern times.

Comments

  1. “terror madrassas”

    Sounds like a good band name.

  2. Gavin Guillaume says:

    At least when you homeschool your children, you can’t complain about the incompetence of the school board or principal.

  3. No, Gavin, everyone else just has to deal with it–including the child-victims.

  4. Personally, I think that Muslims have as much a right as anyone else to home-school (and I say that as someone who is not a big fan of home-schooling, since I’ve seen the consequences of it done poorly). A lot of white supremacists home-school also, and I’m not particularly thrilled with their outlook or plans, either.

    The cultural problems aren’t going to go away simply by forcing Muslims to attend public schools. It would be great it they did, but I just don’t think it’ll happen. Wish I had a great answer for solving those problems, but I don’t. ..bruce..

  5. I don’t get people’s problems with the CA ruling. It just doesn’t seem like that big a deal to get teaching certification. If you are dedicated enough to homeschool for 12+ years, it seems like you could invest a few semesters in pedagogy and theory.

    I have certification in 3 states and the last one, the one that included the need for a Master’s degree, I didn’t even start until I started having kids and I was done when my oldest was 2.

    Around here, lots of Muslim families homeschool not to teach Sharia, but so their girls will be comfortable. I know a lot of teachers who work part-time homeschooling in these families, so they are getting regular curriculum, just in a gender-segregated classroom. I also know a lot of Muslim families that public school. They are pretty much just like us.

  6. ps–there is also a Muslim school around here. I guess if I wanted to get suspicious, I would think that would be the place to get suspicious about, not the homeschools. But I am pretty sure it is a fine academic institution that includes religious study like Seminary.

    PPS–I personally have negative feelings about people who homeschool in general, and specifically for religious reasons. I include Mormons in that category. I grossly generalize that the KIND of Mormon to homeschool is the KIND who would get too zealous about food storage, who are prepared to practice polygamy, and who only take the Sacrament with their right hands and make their girls where dresses with petticoats every day. I am certain that Mormons homeschooling is a concern to people who have concerns about crazy Mormons and/or crazy homeschoolers.

  7. I’d say the fact that you attribute some of your discomfort to a fear of “muslims getting branded as terrorists and harassed” but then label your other fear that muslims may train their children to be terrorists “xenophobia” proves you are indeed a perfectly genuine liberal.

  8. MikeInWeHo says:

    Do most American LDS support the concept of home schooling, even if they don’t practice it themselves? Has the Church said anything about it?

    Home schooling always strikes me as just wrong somehow. It’s hard to say exactly why I feel that way, though. Maybe it’s the idea of what that would have been like for my brother and me growing up in Michigan (yuck!).

    Aren’t parochial schools a better idea for people of faith who don’t want their children exposed to a secular educational system? Of course, I realize that’s not an option for the LDS right now…but does it have to be that way? At least in certain areas, why couldn’t Mormon families band together and start private schools that teach their values?

  9. “Aren’t parochial schools a better idea for people of faith who don’t want their children exposed to a secular educational system? Of course, I realize that’s not an option for the LDS right now…but does it have to be that way?”

    Why isn’t that an option?

  10. Steve, I had never considered how paranoia about Mormonism could influence views on Mormon homeschooling, but it certainly makes sense given how I view much of the evangelical, anti-evolution homeschooling movement. (and, even as a Mormon, how I view much of the Mormon homeschooling movement) If you take my critical skepticism and add religious hysteria . . .

    Thanks for making me think about something that simply never had crossed my mind.

  11. MikeInWeHo–
    All the Church has said regarding home-schooling that I know of is that home-school groups are not to use the Church building (many wards have playgroups at the church during the week, but no homeschool groups may use the building in a similar way). This was framed as an insurance concern, but maybe home-schoolers have a different take, I don’t know.

    Also, the Church does not build schools in places where children can be otherwise educated. The only places it has had schools historically are in places where there was sufficient discrimination that Mormons were not accepted at schools sponsored by other religions or there were just no schools. For this reason, I do not envision the Church building any new schools in the future.

    That said, it has been my impression that Charter schools are an option. AZ has the most liberal charter school allowances and a large LDS population; I guess I assumed some parents might have made an LDS charter school there.

  12. I thought this post was going to be a lot more pointed. The opening seems such a perfect refutation of the authoritarian logic behind this recent California ruling. Of course, I am a lot more comfortable with the thought of Muslims home-schooling, partly because I had so many Muslim friends growing up, whose parents would probably have made better teachers than most actual school teachers are.

    Yes, the fact that you are uncomfortable with Muslims home-schooling their children shows that you are not fully on-board with the American experiment (religious freedom, etc.). However, you seem uncomfortable with your uncomfortability, so bravo!

    Personally, I think the ideal solution for people who take exception to the public school culture would involve at least some time in a school (private, cooperative, or whatever), but for those who don’t have a school available, to say that the public school will always be better than what the parents can do is seriously insulting. There are plenty of dreadful people running classrooms and schools, so if some parents are dreadful too, well, that’s not a good reason to obstruct home schooling.

  13. There are actually signs of a crop of Mormon-themed schools starting up in Utah. I suspect the curriculum and teaching philosophy are pretty green still, but it is starting to be possible in some places to send your kids for a distinctively Mormon (or Mormon-tinged) education. I suspect the movement will grow some, though probably slowly.

  14. Well, I have seen home schooling done well and poorly. One thing it does seem to produce is children who don’t seem to have imbibed the “friend” counter culture at school – most of the kids I have known who are home schooled are super nice, quite obedient, well spoken, etc. Some of them are not very well prepared for the outside world, but some do OK. I do think some state oversight is warranted – but how much I am not sure – one thing that really worries me is if the child is being abused, and also doesn’t go to school, that one source of possible refuge is closed (not that schools are all that great at identifying abused kids)

  15. Excellent point, Steve. Home schooling does seem like a bit of a recipe for indoctrination and to militate against integration. This in a day and age where integration and societal cohesion are extremely pressing issues for our country! I hadn’t heard about the CA ruling, but now that you mention it, I think it may have some very real benefits.

  16. hawkgrrrl says:

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say I am not a fan of homeschooling or Mormon-themed private schooling. Being a peculiar people is one thing, but what about being “in the world”? It seems self-evident that being exposed to many teachers and many students with a variety of viewpoints renders a superior education than one in isolation with only one’s parent for a teacher.

  17. Julie M. Smith, where are you?

  18. Julie M. Smith says:

    ESO, I just read that the CA decision is being (um, some legal term meaning they will reconsider the case) but my understanding was that parents would have had to certify in every subject at every level that they taught and that would have been a great burden. And being a certified teacher myself, I can tell you that at least 90% of the credential requirements are not relevant to homeschoolers, making it a real waste of time (and money) and unlikely to meet the state’s (very real) need to promote a quality education for all students.

    Re #8: I homeschool instead of finding (or starting) a private school because there are advantages of homeschooling that simply won’t happen in a school setting, even a private one.

    hawkgrrrl, you are right to worry about the isolation of some homeschoolers. But please also be aware that some children are experiencing a much greater breadth of opinion and diversity (of all kinds) through homeschooling than they would if they were in school.

    All: another way of phrasing the tension Steve is getting at in this post is this: we all want kids under the public school thumb when it means rooting out the wacky ideas of those kooks. But when we admit that, we admit that the schools have the right to root out of our kids our wacky ideas. And whether you are concerned about the dominant philosophy from a conservative slant (traditional family and sexual behavior, etc.) or a liberal one (consumerism, pop culture, etc.) or a little of both (in my case), not being permitted to teach your own children on your own terms is a big, big deal.

  19. Julie M. Smith says:

    #17:

    Ha!

  20. Julie M. Smith says:

    Now that I’ve read the article:

    OK, so I hate the idea of pulling a girl out of school because “her family wanted her to clean and cook for her male relatives” but then later in the article: “A decade ago many girls were simply shipped back to their villages once they reached adolescence.” ‘Aishah Bashir, now an 18-year-old Independent School student, was sent back to Pakistan when she was 12 and stayed till she was 16. She had no education there.”

    In other words, this is progress. A little.

    Another thought: even at the weekly tutorials these homeschooled girls attend, they have teachers opining on the parents’ choices (re: housework) with statements such as ““what, are your brothers’ arms broken?”” Liberals will be relieved to hear that the girls are not completely isolated from mainstream American thought and conservatives will find further proof of the evils of social engineering delivered via the educational system.

  21. The fact that some parents might abuse their parental rights and authority over their children is insufficient to move me to surrender my own parental rights.

    I suspect the negative reaction by many Mormons to the California restrictions is that it places the state as superior to the parent. Even those who don’t Homeschool are disturbed by it. We tend to be very protective of our children, and the idea that others can impose their ideals on our children simply because they think they know better then us strikes at a very sensitive spot for us.

    The natural result is that we can not then impose our values on other parents who we believe are not doing things as they should.

    At the very least we can not assume that parents are abusive and require they prove themselves qualified before we trust them. Surely parents should be considered fit until they are proven unfit by the state. The state should have the burden of proof that intervention is needed. Parents should not have a burden of proof requiring them to show they are qualified before being permitted to instruct their children as they see fit.

  22. There was a recent NPR segment about increasing isolation of Muslim women in Europe as neighborhoods were instituting a form of sharia law, effectively cutting off the women and girls from any outside contact. The practice was seen as even more isolating than being in their home countries, since there, they would have more interaction with the rest of their society, living the same traditions in the same culture. Most of the women they were talking about didn’t even know what towns or cities they lived in.

    Perhaps extreme, and not directly related to home schooling, but is in my mind a parallel to what is described here. I have nothing but respect for home schoolers who do it well (Julie certainly represents her views well here in the bloggernacle), but I worry about those, Muslim, evangelical, Mormon, etc, who may not. How are we to be the salt of the earth if we are not in the earth?

  23. Gavin Guillaume says:

    Incidentally, Michigan is now trying to control homeschoolers:

    http://www.caerdroia.org/116/archives/2008/03/the_state_of_mi.html

  24. And I worry about all the schools that aren’t doing a good job of keeping order and, more importantly, instructing children. It is a sad but very true reality: the USA is ranked near the very bottom internationally according to the PISA exams.

    Hmmm. It would seem that the public system is getting a failing grade.

    Instead of worrying about the small percentage of people who don’t homeschool well maybe we should be doing a bit of worrying about the vast majority of publicly funded American schools that can’t get it right.

    The idea that most people homeschool for religious reasons is simplistic.

  25. Please pardon the length.

    ESO (5)–It is astounding what is required to get a teaching credential in California. A CA teaching credential requires a bachelor’s degree and three additional semesters (one of which is spent in full-time student teaching at a public school).

    For a multiple subject credential (grade school) you must either have a degree in liberal studies or pass a trio of expensive tests that cover the curricula that would have been covered in the liberal studies degree.

    For a single subject credential you must also either possess a degree in the field or take and pass the expensive competency exams (some fields have four or five different exams). The No Child Left Behind Act now requires that every child be taught by a “highly qualified teacher” which means that in order to teach Biology, English, PE, French and Theatre to a 9th grader, a credentialed teacher must hold five single subject credentials (no, really).

    SO after you pass your CBEST (basic skills test), take your 2 full-time semesters of academic work and your semester of practical student teaching and pass your 8 to 10 four hour tests that you’ll need to be a “highly qualified teacher” for your 1st Grader and your High School student, THEN you receive your preliminary credential.

    To receive your professional clear credential, you then must complete BTSA training (aka BITSA) with a teaching mentor which takes about a year. BTSA requires that you actually have a class that you are teaching in an accredited public school. Then in order to maintain your credential, you must complete a certain number of training hours per year and a certain number of teaching hours with an accredited school.

    During all of this full-time schooling and work where have the teacher’s ‘homeschooled’ children been? In school and daycare. Oh and btw, universities charge tuition, even for the slave labor semester. Those are some of the reasons that homeschooling parents think it is a big deal to be required to have a credential to teach our own children.

    Many professional teachers have only seen the results of homeschooling failing to teach students what they need to know. I’m guessing that they might also have seen a student or two who have been entirely publicly schooled who have not mastered the basics.

    Yes, it makes me nervous when I see wack-jobs teaching their kids, but I also feel uncomfortable when a wack-job has tenure at a public school.

    “It’s an imperfect world. Screws fall out all the time.”

  26. Jami,

    Unless things have changed since I got my preliminary credential, BTSA is not required.

  27. Just changed last year. (I believe we can thank NCLB for that, but then again I just like to scowl at NCLB whenever I can.) Half of the teachers at our Montessori charter didn’t have to complete BTSA and the other half did. Kept them from being able to start their Montessori training.

    Pain in the keister.

  28. Bridget–Here’s the current state pamphlet on the multiple subject credential. http://www.ctc.ca.gov/credentials/leaflets/cl561c.pdf
    It looks like option 1 (called BTSA in most districts) is the only option for teachers who received their preliminary credential after 2004.

  29. Is there any connection with home-schooled Muslim children and terrorism? If there isn’t, what is the real concern here? It seems the concern is more that Muslims don’t wish to be assimilated into the American Borg like the rest of us. (Which isn’t exactly true because plenty of Mormons and other conservatives are perfectly happy about homeschooling so as not to assimilate their children into the American Borg). You’re going to have one tough time justifying why one cultural/ethnic group cannot homeschool while whites can.

  30. If I was going to worry about Muslim kids being taught that they should blow themselves up, I’d be more worried about a parochial school or madrassa doing it than their mom. Or even a Muslim kid who’s been taught Muslim ideals at home, then sent out to public school, singled out, kicked around, and embittered against American pop culture wanting to blow people up. Oh wait! WHITE kids already do that!

  31. And re #29- Yes, apparently according the article a couple people implicated in Muslim terrorist activities (including the spokesman for Al Qaeda in America) were homeschooled. In California, I think.

  32. Jami and Julie–

    Really, CA is stringent, but being your child’s sole source of education is a pretty big commitment. I see no problem with people getting elementary certified and then admitting that since they have no training in the arena, realizing that they are probably NOT their child’s best hope at Chemistry or French. Jami you seem to want to convince me how HARD it is. Yeah, I live and hold certification in a more uptight state than CA and I am both elementary certified and Secondary social studies and English. I feel very confident in covering those subjects for my kids, but I am definitely NOT qualified to guide them through high school sciences and maths. Jami–you are concerned about the requirement of tests or classes or having a BA–if you are serious about homeschooling, surely you can get some of these things out of the way before you have kids? Even after, I did my grad school part time in the evenings starting when my daughter was 3 months old and finishing when she was 2. No big deal.

    I guess this is where the philosophical divide is: I think it unwise to entrust my child’s technical training to someone who is unqualified, even if that someone is myself. This is the reason I outsource medical and dental care, and some aspects of education for my kids. No matter how well I know my kiddies, I still am an unqualified geometry teacher, orthodontist, and surgeon.

  33. jjackson says:

    I have to defend a parents right to homeschool even though I disagree with the decision to do it. I also have to defend the right of the state to regulate a child’s right to education for ALL of that state’s students.

    On a side note, I used to be at least open to the idea of homeschooling. Then I agreed to teach the “basketball unit” for a group of homeschoolers who met for phys ed. Good grief! I don’t know if I can make a cause-and-effect argument, but these kids are not going to do well in the world. Even more, they aren’t going to have much influence outside of their own weird family circle. These parents are effectively keeping the salt of the earth from ever coming into contact with any of the food.

  34. My public school system in a 98% mormon population town of 2,000 can only be described as a Mormon school. We started assemblies with prayer in defiance of the ACLU. One episode that stands out in particular was my English teacher explaining how all Pacific Islanders are descendants of Hagoth. So if you want to know the product, look at me, but not to closely, it could be frightening.

  35. Can we stop comparing US scores to the rest of the world? We don’t have a single US education system that runs everything (no, really, we don’t). We have, largley, local districts that adhere to a mix of federal and state standards — but it is the quality of the local district and the school that depends on how well the instruction is.

    We don’t have “one” America — we have multiple “Americas”. There are some local school districts that work with parents, that respect the role of churches, etc.

    bbell’s children and my children are in the same school district (different schools), and I would say that generally, the quality of the instruction is on par with private schools I investigated several years ago — and without having to pay the arm and a leg I’d have to spend for the private school. It’s hard to see how a private school would benefit my children any more than the public schools they are in. I know a few people in our area who homeschool, but they are not people who the homeschoolers would want to put on a pedestal as an example.

    So I don’t really care about the average SAT score in the US, or even the rest of my state. I look at the average SAT scores in the high schools in my district. My children’s teachers are generally at the top of their profession. My children’s schools PTA organizations are well-attended. Don’t lump my children’s educational experience in with South Texas, or with Nebraska, or with South Central LA.

  36. My public school system in a 98% mormon population town of 2,000 can only be described as a Mormon school. We started assemblies with prayer in defiance of the ACLU.

    One of the seminal cases regarding this, from Santa Fe, Texas, was brought by a Mormon family and a Catholic family, who were being oppressed by the local baptists in the district. I wonder how the 2% in your town felt.

    My sister-in-law went to a school in Utah that sounds like yours, but she claims that Mormons never oppressed non-members. I retort that she can’t know what it’s like to be a religious minority when you’re a Mormon in a small Utah town.

  37. #13:
    There are actually signs of a crop of Mormon-themed schools starting up in Utah.

    Unfortunately, most of them seem to be centered on ultra-right-wing ideology, ala Skousen and Gritz. If these schools were mainstream LDS, they could be a great thing.

    #18:
    I homeschool instead of finding (or starting) a private school because there are advantages of homeschooling that simply won’t happen in a school setting, even a private one.

    The trouble is, for every Julie Smith out there, there are ten homeschooling parents who shouldn’t be allowed to have children, let alone educate them. As a juvenile probation officer in northern Utah, I saw countless examples where parents who never graduated from high school chose to “homeschool” their children, primarily because their children were having truancy or behavioral problems that prompted police involvement. Where so-called “homeschooling” wasn’t being used as this sort of cover, it was invariably religiously-motivated, with parents who literally thought treating their children as mushrooms (keeping them in the dark, and feeding them…ahem…”manure”) was going to “save” them from the “evil world.”

    After moving to Illinois, I worked as a public defender and served on a local school board. Once again, the same patterns prevailed. I have known exactly one family where homeschooling was actually treated as serious education, by parents who were literate enough to teach their children. That situation involved a special-needs child who was mercilessly tortured (emotionally and physically) by other kids at school and church, and a mother who was a trained educator who had worked extensively with special-needs children.

    I’ve seen some of the “curriculum” that religiously-motivated homeschoolers are using. One extensive catalog of resources actually included notations in which the business owner pointed out individual pages which she insisted homeschoolers should physically remove from otherwise highly-recommended books, because they contained bits of information which contradicted a certain religious/political view.

    I applaud responsible legislators, who act in the best interest of society by requiring “homeschooling” to be conducted as actual schooling, rather than avoidance of education.

  38. Nick, it is exceptionally rare that I find myself in wholehearted agreement with you, but in this I cannot agree more.

  39. So how do you guard against the people who shouldn’t have children, while yet letting people like Julie Smith go forward?

    My simpleton solution would be to get more people like Julie Smith sitting on school boards and thus improve their local community’s schools, but most homeschoolers don’t want to get involved.

  40. Julie M. Smith says:

    ESO, two thoughts:

    (1) I’m not opposed to requiring that homeschooling parents be trained, it is just that the teacher credentialing program is 90% useless for homeschooling.

    (2) It may be difficult to imagine how a parent who isn’t a subject matter specialist could competently teach a topic, but with the help of a good homeschooling curriculum, it can be done. For an example, look at the sample pages for the Story of the World Activity book (Vol I) at Amazon to see how someone with only the haziest recollection of what happened in Ancient Egypt might teach her child about it.

    Nick writes, “I worked as a public defender and served on a local school board. Once again, the same patterns prevailed. I have known exactly one family where homeschooling was actually treated as serious education”

    Nick, that’s because responsible homeschoolers have no contact with public defenders and/or the local school board.

  41. StillConfused says:

    I homeschooled my children for two years. It was a great experience and they advanced much beyond those two years (imagine a school without the administrative slow downs like attendance, bell schedules, etc). We used a traditional Christian program (not sure the denomination) which was very academically oriented. Once we moved to a better location, the children returned to public school but with the advantage of a strong education.

  42. My own philosophy is that I send my children to the great local schools that we have, allow them to augment the classroom learning with the activities the schools provide (my fifth grader is on the math/science team), and I augment their education at home with other activities.

    I know where queuno and bbell live, and I agree that their public schools are probably superior to many private and charter schools.

    My fifth-grader was assigned a class report on the American West in the 19th Century. She and the teacher decided that she would do hers on the Mormon Pioneer experience, starting with Nauvoo and ending with SLC. The assignment was for 5 slides in a Powerpoint. We ended up with 35 slides, photos of Nauvoo, family history stories, etc. My daughter spent 3 weeks on this; I helped with small details like formatting and helped her compile the research, but the work was hers.

    (In fact, if anyone is interested in seeing this, let me know and I’ll email you the link off-list.)

    I’m sure I could adequately teach the basics in math and science, reading, foreign languages, etc. But I’d rather augment their experience after school. I’d rather spend the hours with my then-third-grader on her science project on mob psychology. I’d rather sit out and look at the stars and talk about them. I’ll outsource the basics that they need to learn to the (excellent) public schools.

    What, does education end at 3pm? Not in my house.

  43. Julie M. Smith says:

    “My simpleton solution would be to get more people like Julie Smith sitting on school boards and thus improve their local community’s schools, but most homeschoolers don’t want to get involved.”

    Yes. I think the problems are systemic in such a way that one person on one school board won’t be able to implement meaningful change.

    (I have, however, toyed with the idea of running a charter after I’m done with my own kids.)

  44. Steve,
    But it’s not even Friday yet.

    My objection to homeschooling is twofold. The first is purely anecdotal, and definitely not scientific, but my exposure to homeschooled kids (in three states across the country, and in contrast to public-schooled kids in those three states) has forever warned me off. I realize that not every homeschooled kid lacks social skills, and not every public-schooled kid has them, but I make of my experience what I can.

    Also, this article, which technically doesn’t address homeschooling (instead, it’s a mild indictment of private schooling). I think that those who are responsible enough, and care enough about their child(ren)’s education, to homeschool successfully are precisely the parents that public schools need in order to educate both their children and to make sure that other children in the community, whose parents may not have the same concern or capacity, get a good education.

    That said, ultimately, it’s not up to me what other people do. But barring something crazy (and something which I can’t, at this moment, imagine), my daughter will attend the public schools wherever we live and, I have no doubt, will have her education augmented at home.

  45. Julie (43),
    My last comment was eaten, and will probably show up later, but I think one parent, even not on a school board, can make a significant difference, based to some extent on this article in the Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200803/kozol

  46. Steve Evans says:

    Julie, thanks for being part of this conversation. It’s not easy to work through these issues — I think Nick does a good job as well of articulating some of the points.

    That said, Julie, I’m not sure the depiction in the article represents real progress. I suppose if your standard is whether these poor kids are getting shipped back to Pashtun or some remote village once they hit adolescence, then we’re moving forward, but you know — having lived in Europe and seen the large but incredibly insular Muslim communities formed over there, and accompanying unrest — I have real fears about some of this.

  47. ESO (32), Actually using an excellent instructional manual and paper clips, I have managed to do a fine job of home orthodontia.

  48. Josh Smith says:
  49. #40:
    Nick, that’s because responsible homeschoolers have no contact with public defenders and/or the local school board.

    That’s certainly a valid point, Julie, except that my experience with homeschoolers wasn’t only via my roles as public defender and school board vice president. I’ve also encountered a number of homeschoolers who were active, faithful LDS, but “homeschooled” (and sometimes even recruited other LDS members’ children into their home to be “homeschooled!”) primarily out of an extreme fear of what public schools would do to their children’s spiritual welfare. I don’t want to imply a blanket generalization, but my observation was that most of these fears arose out of a profound lack of education on the parents’ part, leaving them all the more inadequate to “educate” thier children.

  50. #42:
    Well said! I couldn’t agree more, except to note that where public schools might be lacking, parents should get involved! :-)

  51. Julie M. Smith says:

    Steve, yes, there are interesting questions about insularity here. I would be more concerned if the boys were being homeschooled, but that is apparently not the case. It also looks as if they are using a fairly mainstream curriculum (with Koran add-on) and not World History According to the Local Blind Sheik or whatever.

    Nick, I have just as strong of a dislike for the ultra-conservative LDS homeschoolers of stereotype as you do.

  52. Look at the data on homeschooling rather then anecdotal evidence. Look esp hard at the high educational level of the parents that engage in it. There may be some selection bias at play in the wiki site.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_school

    I send my own kids to public school and supplement at home. My exp with LDS homeschoolers is mixed. It really depends on the individual family. I locally know 3 homeschool families. 2 are doing a really good job and one is a wreck. The ones that are doing really good also do fine in other areas. (employment, church callings etc) and vice versa.

    As to Steves point there is a great deal of risk in allowing private Muslim schools and homeschooling in the West. For the US there is little to be done about it because of the 1st amendment

  53. Julie (40)–Excellent points.

    Ye Doubters–There are five homeschooling families in my ward. They are all fine, intelligent people using curriculum provided by the local homeschool charter. The school board and police do not even know they exist.

    We work with a charter that provides $1800 per child for classes, tutors, computers, books, supplies, etc. (All non-consumables belong to the school and you give them back when you are done.) You can buy some pretty nifty self-teaching systems with that kind of money. (Btw, the school will not pay for religious curriculum of any kind.) We belong also to a co-op that uses the Thomas Jefferson method of homeschooling.

    I live in a very ethnic neighborhood and there are many people who are keeping their teen-aged girls home to take care of the extended family’s little kids. I do not approve, but I know that they are still learning. The same teacher who “supervises” me actually supervises them and provides help for them as needed. They still tend to be rather isolated from the community at large, but so do their publicly schooled counterparts. That’s why they are known as an “ethnic community.” They want to retain their ethnic distinctiveness.

    I’m too close to Lodi to feel comfortable about the original article sited. It could be my grocery store that they will be blowing up. The problem isn’t that they want to retain their identity. The problem is that for some Muslims that identity involves anhilating western culture. (Talk about Borgs.)

    Publicly educated Muslims can also plan on taking over the world. Or perhaps living a life of peaceful devotion. I don’t think their schooling choice will be the determining factor in their future religious expression. The apple probably won’t fall too far from the tree. Peaceful Muslim parents beget peaceful Muslim children. Terrorists beget terrorists.

  54. I’m glad to hear of the successes that Julie and Jami have experienced. It’s not my intention to cast any blanket aspersion on homeschoolers.

  55. Steve Evans says:

    “They are all fine, intelligent people using curriculum provided by the local homeschool charter. The school board and police do not even know they exist.”

    My neighbor, Sarah Connor, also does this fairly successfully.

  56. Julie:
    RE:40
    1–If CA were serious, it seems like it would make a great deal of sense to create specific home-school tracks within their certification programs. I would probably not throw out 90%, but certainly some adjustments would be understandable.
    2–Really, I have a very good imagination, and I can imagine this approach at the elementary school level AND with some dedicated parents such as yourself. I cannot endorse it for many other parents or for college prepatory classes. I consider myslef very research-savy and I believe I could find out what all the “best” books are on physics and have my child read them and we could conduct simple experiements. Yet that is a far cry from the expert teachers with graduate degrees in physics available in my local high school.

    RE:48
    “I have just as strong of a dislike for the ultra-conservative LDS homeschoolers of stereotype as you do.”

    I’m sure you do–it must be hard to get lumped in with them.

  57. “My neighbor, Sarah Connor, also does this fairly successfully.”

    Before she was killed by robots from the future.

  58. She wasn’t killed!!! But I’m glad someone got the reference, even if it was Frank.

  59. prairie chuck says:

    #18 and #21 hit the nail on the head. The root question is “Who does the child belong to? Who is answerable for the child?” It is breathtakingly arrogant to think that the state has a right to dictate how a child should be brought up and what he should learn. It is also arrogant to begin this discussion with the assumption that someone else (state, school, certified teachers, legislators) wants better for the child than his own parents, that somehow the state trusts them to give birth to the child but retains the right to second-guess or override parents’ decisions regarding the nurture or upbringing of the child.

    I find it interesting that folks who’ve just been discussing the colonial attitudes of the church think nothing of imposing their values and judgments on parents.

    #37 This is what we call anecdotal evidence, as #40 points out. There have been studies done–the scientific kind that yield reliable, meaningful statistics (like this peer-reviewed study: http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v7n8/) As a whole, hs’d children score significantly better on standardized tests than do their ps peers and nearly 25% are studying at least one grade level above their age. Even hs’d children whose parents have no college education score better than their ps’d counterparts. When normalizing the scores for family income and parents’ education level, hs’ers still do better. They also attend college at the same rate as ps’d children, they score as well on college entrance exams as do ps’d children and by every measure succeed at college as well as ps’d students.

    So if academically hs’d children fare every bit as well or better than do ps’d children, what then can be the objection?

  60. There is a third option. Both of my nieces have enrolled in their school district’s home academies. They are enrolled in their district but they do their schooling at home over the internet. They have credentialed instructors who oversee their coursework. They turn in homework, they take tests but they do it all from home. They can meet personally with the instructors if they need to. They can participate in school activities such as band/orchestra and sports if they choose. Each student is self paced but there is a minimum progress rate that must be maintained.

    As more school districts lose funding from students exiting the system to home school I think these hybrid online learning approaches will grow.

  61. RE 56:’that somehow the state trusts them to give birth to the child but retains the right to second-guess”

    I would guess there are plenty of people the state actually does not trust to give birth, they just haven’t figured out a way to stop them. It is much easier, though, as a poor person, to get free birth control than health insurance.

    What a world.

  62. The objection is that it’s difficult to keep an eye on children who are not regularly paraded in front of mandated-reporters. Really, that is the specific concern of the case from SoCal. There is concern of abuse and the court wants to have the kids monitored daily.

  63. ESO, birth control IS health insurance! Ortho Tri-cyclen does wonders for my acne.

  64. “As a whole, hs’d children score significantly better on standardized tests than do their ps peers and nearly 25% are studying at least one grade level above their age. Even hs’d children whose parents have no college education score better than their ps’d counterparts. When normalizing the scores for family income and parents’ education level, hs’ers still do better. They also attend college at the same rate as ps’d children, they score as well on college entrance exams as do ps’d children and by every measure succeed at college as well as ps’d students.

    So if academically hs’d children fare every bit as well or better than do ps’d children, what then can be the objection?”

    We just don’t like them.

  65. Steve, you’re just concerned because if I’m the only one who gets your jokes, you’re probably a Cylon.

  66. #56:
    So if academically hs’d children fare every bit as well or better than do ps’d children, what then can be the objection?

    Even if this is true (and we can all identify numerous “anecdotes” where it’s anything but true), there is more to education than college entrance exams. For starters, real education involves interaction between people of differing backgrounds and viewpoints. Those who homeschool out of a desire to isolate (oops…”protect”) their children from other members of society do them a grave injustice, leaving them little prepared to make responsible decisions when they are faced later with a world that isn’t limited to their indoctrination. Further, as someone else has pointed out, such an approach can harm the community, by not allowing the homeschooled child to be an influence (positive, one hopes) on his or her peers.

  67. #50 – “Peaceful Muslim parents beget peaceful Muslim children. Terrorists beget terrorists.”

    That might be a good generalization, Jami, but insularity breeds exclusionary and divisive attitudes. I was raised in rural, central Utah among wonderful, caring people – whose racial and religious attitudes were colored by their isolation from those who were different.

    As to homeschooling, I have good friends who do an excellent job homeschooling their children; I have good friends who should be jailed for child abuse for their homeschooling. Whatever the basic standards of *performance* are for the public schools, those same standards should apply to homeschooling. Anyone who can’t prove adequate minimum competency through homeschooling should not be able to continue in it; anyone who can, should be able to continue.

    Homeschooling is an educational issue, first and foremost. It should be treated as such.

  68. For some background,
    Mrs. John C. is the daughter of an ex-BYU professor who taught homeschooling in BYU’s secondary education dept because he had lost all hope regarding public schooling. Mrs. John C. was home-schooled for a year, spent a year in France as a teenager, and spent the rest of her time in high and middle school excelling academically and hating every second of it. I went to the third best public school in the nation.

    All that said, home-schooling rises and falls on anecdotes. We all know the stories of the backwoods, inbred, Evangelical, flat-earth conspiracy theorists who keep the girls home to prevent them from gettin’ “idears” just as well as we know the stories of the overachieving, Harvard-attending, goat-farming, theoretically world shifting homeschoolers. If there is no significant difference between the average educational experience of a homeschooled child and the average educational experience of a public schooled child, then what does it matter which is chosen? What do the credentials of the teacher matter in that context?

    There is no homeschooler (who can read) in America who isn’t aware of the “socialization” issue. Pointing it out to a homeschooler is somewhat akin to pointing out that Joseph Smith was from New York in an attempt to prove the Book of Mormon untrue. They are aware and they have adjusted their teaching and their lives to avoid the issue.

    As to Muslim homeschooling, the solution is to create a community where they don’t feel a need to turn their back on their surroundings. This won’t solve all problems (or come close), but it would help.

  69. Nick Literski,
    Just as not all homeschoolers offer positive experiences to their children, not all public schools offer positive experiences. We should (I think) allow parents to, in conversation with their children, decide what is the best atmosphere for their education.

  70. ESO,
    Margaret Sanger is asking you to stop stealing her talking points.

  71. prairie chuck, ESO:

    I wouldn’t hang my hat on that article. In addition to the obvious warning sign (an ‘electronic journal’–a clear sign of zero prestige and low publication/review standards), the statistical analysis is of the most basic sort and I have serious questions about selection effects in the data outcomes. The data is based on a single year’s results from Bob Jones University Press Educational Testing and Evaluation Service. That alone suggests profound selection biases…the author does not address these issues in the slightest.

  72. I homeschool my kids. They’re learning Greek. Do you know Greek? They have an activity with a different group of kids everyday, some homeschooled, some not. Do you interact with different groups of people everyday? They are growing their own vegetables in the garden? Do you know how to grow your own food? They write in their journals regularly? Do you write in your journal regularly? They interact with kids and adults of all ages? Do you, and your kids, interact with people of all ages. They visit their great-grandmas weekly. Do you visit your grandma every week with your kids? My kids memorize scriptures in English and in Greek. They give talks in church without notes. Do you and your kids do that? We invite families over to our house nearly every week. Do you invite different families over to your house every week? Yet my kids are just kids. They are not superkids nor do we want them to be. We just want them to grow up to be happy and free, and that includes being positive influences on people. I don’t use comparisons of my kids to other kids to decide what to do. I do do what I think would be most beneficial to them.

    I get pretty tired hearing holier-than-thous talk about “socialization” and the state needing to watch out for abuse. That’s backward. The people need to be watching what’s going on in the classroom, in the halls, after school. Lots of abuse there, but that’s ok because it’s under state control.

    And Nick, and the rest of you. Give me your address. I’m concerned that your homes may not be suitable for children. I’ll like to do an inspection. For real. Are you in Utah? I’ll come over.

    I think most people wouldn’t have a clue what to do if the school shut down and you have to teach your kids, or foster some education yourselves. You think that there must be a “system” to watch out problems. Even members of the church think this way. People can be so restricted in their lives that all they can do is there one little piece, and everyone else does theres. They’re only partly developed, yet they think that’s life, that’s “socializtion,” that’s “success” and being able to do more is weird. It’s not that homeschoolers want to “fend off the system.” They want to do things a better way, yet all these other people nod their heads and say, “well, then the kids wouldn’t be assimilated. Why, how could we monitor for abuse?” Pathetic.

    Freedom is going to yield divergences. I’m sorry if other families use homeschooling as a defense for mistreating their kids. That’s not me, and we better have other ways of detecting abuse instead of forcing everyone to show up to public school to be monitored by the state. Hmmm….Maybe people in the neighborhood could look out for their neighbors? I don’t know, actually go over to each other’s houses once in awhile? Get to know the kids? Invite them over? But that take a little effort. It’s easier to pass laws and let the police, school system, and experts handle it all. Yeah, that’s the better way. And then we can each just focus on our own little sliver of activity in society. That’s much easier.

  73. {Homeschoolers] are aware and they have adjusted their teaching and their lives to avoid the issue [of socialization].

    The majority of religiously-motivated homeschoolers I’ve encountered are not only aware of the issue of socialization, but actually choose homeschooling because of that issue. They’re scared that the “evil world” will socialize their children, and drag them speedily down to Hell. As such, they “adjust their teaching and their lives” in such a way as to avoid allowing their children to interact with others beyond their own faith community.

    Nick Literski, Just as not all homeschoolers offer positive experiences to their children, not all public schools offer positive experiences.

    I’m not aware that I claimed otherwise. Rather, I urged parents to become involved with their children’s public education system, when they see flaws. That’s part of the reason I became a school board member, after all.

  74. Ron, do you have room on the other shoulder for some more chips?

  75. Ron,
    That’s part of the issue: most people, individually, are not capable of teaching Greek, calculus, music, U.S. and world history, literature, civics, computers, and gardening, much less economics, gym, composition, choir, and biology. If you are, more power to you; but why not use those skills to augment your children’s education in a public school and produce externalities that will help kids who don’t have parents willing or capable of bringing all of that to the table?

  76. Nick,
    My anecdotal evidence tops your anecdotal evidence.

    Ron,
    Academic achievement doesn’t equal education. That assumption is a reason a lot of people remove their kids fom school.

    Sam,
    You could ask the same question of any private school attendee. For some people, for some situations, home-school appears to be the best situation.

  77. #69 Ron,
    What you describe with regard to your own homeschool experience is a wonderful thing. I don’t think anyone, including the California legislature, is worried about situations like yours.

    The people need to be watching what’s going on in the classroom, in the halls, after school.

    Absolutely! Hence my call for parents to involve themselves in the public education system! Frankly, the public education system could greatly benefit by having parents such as yourself become involved, rather than withdrawing.

    And Nick, and the rest of you. Give me your address. I’m concerned that your homes may not be suitable for children. I’ll [sic] like to do an inspection. For real.

    You’re too late, since I no longer have children at home, Ron. By the way, through the benefit of both an excellent public school and parental involvement, they happen to be competent grammarians. (cough)

  78. I give no credence to the claims of a Muslim revival in central California. I suspect that it’s really just a bunch of folks who got stuck in Lodi, again.

  79. John C,
    America’s third best public school is in Jacksonville, Florida? And they say rednecks are thick!

    (BTW, is Mrs John C. homeschooling the junior C’s?)

  80. John C.,
    I do ask the same question about private schooling (in fact, I did in two comments that got eaten). There are certainly things to be said for private schooling and for home schooling, but there are also things to be said against them. Anybody who says there is no positive or negative about any of the options is lying, selling something, or dumb. So we have to weigh the upsides against the downsides. In my calculus, the answer clearly favors universal public schooling where the parents who can contribute do. I realize, though, that your mileage may vary.

    There was an interesting article (that I tried to link to in the eaten comments) in the March issue of the Atlantic by Sandra Tsing Loh (it shouldn’t be too hard to find) where she talks about her LA experience of not being able to afford private schools, and what her kids have gotten out of (and she has put into) the (failing) public school they go to; I come out roughly where she does.

  81. 72-

    why not use those skills to augment your children’s education in a public school and produce externalities that will help kids who don’t have parents willing or capable of bringing all of that to the table

    It really is OK to put my children before all of the other children in the school district, to devote my energy and talents to raising and teaching my own. It’s my choice, my stewardship.

    So far the law is on freedom’s side on the issue. We’ll make different choices if these options are taken away from us.

  82. prairie chuck says:

    That study is one of dozens and all of them indicate the same academic excellence among hsers. (Look at what the Dept of Education has on the topic.) This is just one of many peer reviewed studies and I cite it only because it IS in an electronic journal, making it accessible to this forum. (Somehow I doubt you’ll go to a university to look up this and other studies found in the non-electronic journals.) This particular study involved over 23,000 students. The BJUP Testing service had nothing to do with the study, other than to provide the stats from that year’s testing and to ask hs’ers who purchased testing services to participate in the self-responding portion of the study. BJUP is the largest single source of standardized tests made available to hsing parents. These are standardized tests: Iowa and Standford, the same ones most widely used among ps’s.

    But I understand that among the anti-hs’ers there is no evidence that will satisfy them. In the hs debate, the anti’s have a problem with falsifiability.

    #63-Do you really believe a ps education to be well-rounded? A system that segregates children by age and socio-economic background and puts them into one room with one teacher, possibly two? Do they teach an LDS world-view in this class? How about any Christian world-view? How about a world world-view? Other than the tiniest smattering of Egyptian and Greek history, most students grow up thinking that the world began in 1492.

    My ps education was very narrow and limited. It didn’t expand until my Sr. year when I was an exchange student to Brazil and saw that there was a whole world of knowledge and experience that I had no idea existed. College was also an expansive education, as was all the traveling I did as a child with my parents. But it would too generous to say that ps exposed me “differing backgrounds and viewpoints.” Nope, with only one or two exceptions, it was pretty much all a socialist, humanist, Amero-centric viewpoint. How’s that for anecdotal evidence?

    As to socialization–again there are numerous studies that show hs’ed students are well-socialized by every measure. Unfortunately the anecdotal evidence trumps the statistical evidence.

    It has already been pointed out–ps has its full share of wackos and failure stories. 29% of ps’s report bullying is a daily or weekly occurrence. My socialization in ps was comprised of years of non-stop bullying and taunting. I’m told I’m a pretty normal person, but that’s in spite of, not because of ps. Maybe someone can tell me how beneficial it is to be bullied, but I fail to see it.

    Regardless of all the studies and facts, let’s assume that hs’ing produces the most ignorant, socially inept segment of our society. So what? Who do the children belong to? And if we can accommodate the religions, languages and cultures from around the world into US society, why can’t we tolerate a handful of hs’ers who don’t quite fit the mold that the majority would like to impose?

    I say it again: I find it interesting that folks who’ve just been discussing the colonial attitudes of the church think nothing of imposing their values and judgments on parents who want to hs.

  83. Jami,
    Yes, you can legally homeschool your kids (probably). And I agree that you can put your kids’ needs in front of your community’s needs. And I realize that I’m not going to change your mind any more than you’re going to change mine.

    But I don’t see why it has to be an either-or. What makes it my-kids-or-the-community? Couldn’t the answer be my-kids-and-the-community?

  84. prairie chuck, please point out the comments in this thread saying homeschooling should be banned.

  85. (Sorry–by “probably” I meant, probably, unless you’re somewhere that doesn’t permit it, like California, apparently, according to the outcry I’ve seen. But frankly, I don’t intend to homeschool in or out of California, so I haven’t actually read the decision or any news articles about the opinion, and I tend to avoid other commentary about it, too.)

  86. Sam,
    I don’t see how your second option is mutually exclusive with homeschooling?

  87. John,
    It probably isn’t; I was just responding to Jami, who (as I read her comment) was suggesting that it was either her kids OR the community.

    Still, I would find it selfish to keep my daughter out of public schools because I can teach her myself, where I am also capable of augmenting what she gets in public schools and helping other kids who don’t have my daughter’s same advantages.

    (And before you jump all over me, note that I’m not addressing Mrs. John C’s misery at school or the kid who gets beat up every day, or a whole lot of other facts that I don’t know about you or Jami or anyone else. I’m also not denying that I’m a supremely selfish person. I am repeating, however, that neither option is pristine and pure–there is a cost to each, and a benefit to each, and the cost and benefit have to be weighed. That’s an extremely fact-intensive thing. In the abstract, however, in my weighing, the net positive of public schooling outweighs the net positive of homeschooling. Your mileage may well vary.)

  88. #79:
    Do they teach an LDS world-view in this class? How about any Christian world-view?

    Thanks, prarie chuck, for clarifying the focus of your motives. Feel free to consider my comments on religiously-motivated homeschoolers as intentionally applicable.

    My socialization in ps was comprised of years of non-stop bullying and taunting.

    That explains a number of things, doesn’t it?

    Regardless of all the studies and facts, let’s assume that hs’ing produces the most ignorant, socially inept segment of our society. So what? Who do the children belong to?

    That portion of society which has advanced beyond Neanderthal culture recognize that children don’t “belong to” anyone but themselves. Does your trumpted “homeschooling” include this principle that your children are mere chattel?

  89. Steve Evans says:

    My socialization in ps was comprised of years of non-stop bullying and taunting.

    That explains a number of things, doesn’t it?

    Such as what, Nick? I hope you weren’t trying to be insulting.

  90. No, I wasn’t trying to be insulting, Steve. I think it’s fair to suggest that “prarie chuck’s” profound level of emotion on the topic just might have something to do with his having been bullied “non-stop” throughout his school years.

  91. Sam (82) Yes, I homeschool my kids and I work with other people’s kids all the time. I love them. I did try working with the school system (as an art docent and as a school board member) and found that the system was unwilling to bend to my will (and to my children’s needs). There are a lot of great people working in the system. After my kids are grown the plan is to go through the whole rigamarole and get my credential. But my kids get me first.

    In spite of the uproar, homeschooling is still legal in California. The State Superintendent of Education Jack O’Connell issued a statement a couple of weeks ago stating that parents in California still have the legal right to homeschool.

    The Rachel L. case was being appealed, but it looks like it has been vacated and they will retry the case. I’m not a lawyer, but here’s a link if you want more info. http://www.pacificjustice.org/resources/news/focusdetails.cfm?ID=PR080326a

  92. Nick (88, 90) Not trying but succeeding nonetheless.

  93. In Nick’s defense, I know two people who homeschool specifically because they hated their own public school experiences. One does very well; the other one . . . there is no kind way to describe the result.

    The ultimate anecdotal experience generally is one’s own experience – as evidenced by those who oppose homeschooling because their own public school experiences were and are good. That, at least, should be recognized.

  94. Ray (93),
    Recognized. Not a great defence against insulting someone on a personal level, IMHO.

  95. If my comment was personally insulting, I apologize. It wasn’t intended as such, but at least two people interpreted it that way, so I obviously communicated poorly.

  96. The post mentions some controversy that arose “about the efforts of the Oxford Central Mosque to establish muzzein loudspeakers in the town.”

    After reading through Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim – the two most prominent collections of Sunni Islamic hadith – there is a concern I have about the adhan (call to prayer). It seems to me that the hadith describe the adhan as something more than just a devotional practice. In addition, it seems to be a signal or measure of whether there is (from an Islamic perspective) sufficient Islamic influence or sovereignty in a community.

    How is this communicated? What the hadith say basically is that Muhammad instructed his followers to wait until morning before attacking a town or city and if they didn’t hear the call to prayer coming from that location, then they they were allowed to attack that community.

    Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 11, hadith # 584 reads:

    Anas bin Malik said, “Whenever the Prophet went out with us to fight (in Allah’s cause) against any nation, he never allowed us to attack till morning and he would wait and see: if he heard Adhan he would postpone the attack and if he did not hear Adhan he would attack them.” …

    Sahih Bukhari, volume 4, Book 52, hadith #193:

    Narrated Anas: Whenever Allah’s Apostle attacked some people, he would never attack them till it was dawn. If he heard the Adhan (i.e. call for prayer) he would delay the fight, and if he did not hear the Adhan, he would attack them immediately after dawn. We reached Khaibar at night.

    Sahih Muslim, Book 004, hadith #745:

    Anas b. Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) used to attack the enemy when it was dawn. He would listen to the Adhan; so if he heard an Adhan, he stopped, otherwise made an attack …

    I bring up quotations from both Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim because it is a common teaching in Sunni Islam that if the same hadith/teaching appears in both of these esteemed collections, that it is especially true or worthy as a saying.

    Again, I’d like to read more Islamic commentaries on this specific issue. It concerns me that the possibility of a threat or lack-of-a-threat to a given town/city/community is somehow attached to the adhan.

  97. I think a major point of divergence between proponents of homeschooling and those who aren’t that is emerging here is the larger normative question of ‘who’s kids are these?’ Those who advocate homeschooling seem to advocate a proposition that to me is hard to sustain–that parents should have sole stewardship over their children, so long as they remain within general humanitarian norms (i.e., don’t overtly abuse them, cause immediate injury, etc.). The persepective of those who tend to oppose most homeschooling takes the perspective that the wider community has a vital interest in the kids as well, and has accordingly has a stewardship role as well, not only in terms of their formation (the issue that the post itself addressed) but also as a means of protecting the child’s ability to make choices about the kind of life they want to live according to the fuller range offered by the community.

    Which means that those of us who are concerned about home-schooling see it not only as a question of liberty, but as a fully legitimate question of protecting the child’s ability to make fully informed choices about the kind of life they want to live. And this concern with this second, competing interest is in my case in good part derived from my own experiences, in that had I been homeschooled–particularly had I been taken out of school at the moment of the height of bullying I encountered (and I’ll set my bullying against anyone at all; my way out was to overcome my social awkwardness by leaving home during the summers in high school and working at scout camp [in PA], by the way–that is, more social exposure to a diverse population of people, not less)–I would be a much less interesting person, I would have had less interesting experiences, I would not have encountered the serious life of the mind, in short, I would be a much smaller and less happy person.

  98. Prarie chuck, #82, actually, I’m a grad student at a campus with pretty much every journal you can name. What are the other sources you would cite?

    Also, when you provide your citations, can you classify them by methodology used? There are some advanced techniques, like matching, that would probably be the best for analyzing these questions.

    Also, the selection effects that would be important are not the result of bias by BJUP itself, but by the characteristics of the homeschoolers who would be getting their supplies from them and those who are not (which can have many causes, starting with their attitudes toward doing business with Bob Jones but also including the issue of whether or not the kids are taking the standardized tests).

  99. The concern with selection effects is drawn from the fact that it’s hard to take statistics which rely on a non-random sample (or an entirely comprehensive population) without justifying that sample’s non-random-ness as serious social science.

  100. or should be ‘unless’

  101. Katie Langston says:

    I’m a little frustrated by this conversation. I don’t plan on homeschooling my kids, but the anti-homeschooling arguments I’ve observed here all seem based on this subjective, judgmental, unflattering stereotype that has nothing but anecdotal experience to back it up. I’d like to think we’d have something a little more substantial to go on before we made a case for OUTLAWING certain parental rights.

    I mean, HELL. I remember when I was in high school, the band kids all seemed kinda weird. You know, zitty, smelly, ugly jeans and white socks. I’m not sure, but maybe we should think about outlawing band? Or AT LEAST regulating it. Okay, so some of those kids might have something good come out of it someday, but in my experience, they’re few and far between, and the social negatives DEFINITELY outweigh the benefits. Put ‘em in something respectable. Like cheerleading. Or football. That’ll teach ‘em conformity.

  102. Katie,
    No offense, but have you read any of the arguments made here? Many of us think homeschooling is a worse idea than public schooling, but nobody yet has argued for banning it (cf. Ray, 84).

  103. Katie, ALLCAPS ABUSE NOTWITHSTANDING, it’s not obvious that homeschooling is a parental right.

  104. Some forms of homeschool regulation are as good as banning it. If I was required to teach from Textbook Z, assign Worksheets Z56- Z59 and administer Evaluation Z3, it would effectively kill the difference between our family’s homeschool and the local schools.

  105. So defend public school. Queno says that she is “tired” of tests like PISA (which is not the SAT btw) and others comparing the USA to the rest of the world. But that is the point: public schools are not cutting the mustard. Period. And the sad thing is the gains we have seen in education are due to grade inflation (at the University level as well) and dumbing down of assesment tests.

    If we expect homeschoolers to have “standards” then what about our public schools? Could most of the schools pass the requirements that educators want to set up for homeschoolers? From the evidence I’ve read, anecdotal and otherwise, it doesn’t seem so.

    Yes, I agree. It’s a matter of education (or lack thereof which is most often the case in the PS system).

    As for abuse-there is a heaping of it, sexual and otherwise, doled out at public schools all the time-and I’m not just talking about guns, gangs, and bullies:

    http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/1,1249,695220529,00‘.html

    I find it ludicrous and laughable that the judge in CA thinks PS has the moral authority and charge to serve as a watchdog for abuse in the home when schools cannot even regulate the abuse that goes on in the schoolyard or classroom.

    And it is also funny to see how ESO and Nick have taken the high ground in this debate with snide and nasty retorts instead of thoughtful responses to the questions under scrutiny.

    The issue is about power and whether parents have a right to stewardship or whether “the village” (or government) has that right. It’s a debate as old as Plato. As for me and my house-we believe parents do have the right to raise their children the way they see fit without unnecessary interference from the state.

  106. Jami,
    How? Even if you were assigned a specific book and worksheets, couldn’t you supplement or put a different spin on the book or use it as an example of poor argumentation or something else?

    I don’t buy the argument that regulation = banning (except, of course, where the regulation does ban). We can, of course, come up with the odd example where regulation does equate to banning, but I could also come up with examples where regulation didn’t diminish from high-functioning educational experiences while raising the standards of low-functioning ones.

  107. Katie Langston says:

    Sam B.,

    You’re right, I did speak a little melodramatically. *sheepish grin*

    However, there have been arguments for regulation (e.g. 15, 32, 33, 37,)–and unless I’m really misreading things, many of those arguments have centered around anecdotal evidence related to poor socialization. (And even in cases where regulation wasn’t mentioned specifically, a lot of the anti-homeschooling comments here seem to focus on that point.) I guess those kinds of arguments just don’t sit well with me because

    A)–they’re anecdotal;
    B)–I have plenty of personal anecdotal experience with public schooled kids who seem a little “off the beaten track,” to put it gently; and
    C)–Who’s to say what “proper” socialization is anyway? The STATE? Isn’t that even scarier than a handful of fundamentalists?

  108. Katie Langston says:

    Steve,

    I guess I’ve never considered that control over one’s own child’s education wouldn’t be considered a fundamental parental right. Could you elaborate why you feel it isn’t?

  109. http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/1,1249,695220529,00.html

    Sorry. Posted this in the wrong debate. Here is the link about teacher abuse.

  110. prairie chuck says:

    #84–please point out where I said anyone had advocated banning hsing.

    #88–please point out where I said I am religiously motivated. My motivations are primarily academic and philosophical with religion being only a minor motivation. In fact my husband (I’m female, BTW. An awful lot of assumptions going on here.) is agnostic, so our children are exposed to a whole range of religious (and areligious) ideas. You’re pretty selective about what which of my comments indicates motivation. You disregarded “How about a world world-view?” and my complaint that ps is very Amero-centric.

    Emotional? I don’t think so. Passionate? Guilty. When it comes to parental rights, yes, I am passionate. I consider parenting a divine calling and I resent any who dictate to another how to fulfill that calling.

    Yes, my ps experience was not a good one. Even so, if I thought it was the best way for my children to reach their full potential, I would put them into ps. But ps is incompatible with what I believe are the fundamental principles of education.

    And thinking that your “that explains a number of things” comment wasn’t insulting shows that ps could have done better job of socialization. Apology accepted.

    #98–Normally I’d be happy to, but I’ve already given much more time to this conversation than I should have. But with those resources, you won’t have much trouble finding them.

  111. prairie chuck, in #82 you used the term “anti-home schoolers”. I took that literally to mean those who oppose home schooling – not those who have reservations about the way some people practice it. If that was not your intended meaning, I apologize.

  112. “chuck” is generally a male name. Assumptions are natural.

  113. Sam

    In the instance of our homeschool strict regulation would decided mess with our learning philosophy. Learning is something we do because it’s wonderful, not because it’s required.

    I pick the subjects they study based on their interests. We unschool (not the same as not schooling btw) a great deal in the younger years. We have an enormous amount of resources available and the children follow their joy. They are brilliant and I trust them. As much as I trust them, I also believe that learning is delightful. And my kids do too. This joy is not experienced by completing Worksheets Z56-Z59.

    I am primarily a resource person. Want to know why the sky is blue? Baked Alaska doesn’t melt in the oven? Pluto got demoted? Let’s go find out. (My son just interrupted me to discuss when the sun was going to burn out. Five billion years, he says. We’ll check it out in a minute.)

    My older kids do more formal coursework but even then we are substantially more flexible than the public schools. (The oldest is taking
    Biology and decided about five weeks into the course that she preferred a different format so we switched books. She has two of everything for dissection, so she knows what she’s doing on the second one. Things like that just wouldn’t happen in a highly regulated environment.)

    Following regulations would take time away from the things they want to learn. (Sorry, kid we don’t have time to talk about the sun you are on life cycles this month. And have you completed those stinking worksheets yet.) We just left a charter that was becoming far too ‘independent study’ oriented for our tastes.

    I feel confident that the children will be able to go into any field they desire. And it is not because of intense regulation, it’s because they are learning how to learn.

  114. Katie (#108) – Whether or not education *should* be viewed as a fundamental parental right is one question. Whether it *is* such a right is another question entirely.

    It is easy to argue that the state has an extremely compelling motivation to equate minimally acceptable educational standards as relevant to the welfare and security of the nation – particularly in the type of global economy that exists in our day and age. Furthermore, Amendment 10 of the Constitution leaves those rights not given explicitly to the federal government in the hands of “the states or the people”. Again, whether or not education *should* be a “popular” right or a “state” right is not a settled question – or we wouldn’t be having these conversations.

    Personally, I want the final say in my children’s education, but I have no problem with the concept that the government has the right to make sure if I am opting out of the public system (for any alternative) I be able to show that I actually am educating my children and not raising future drains on my society.

  115. I don’t think the argument can be won that some kids may not do better with a good home schooling in a number of ways. Likewise some/many are hurt or left behind in public schools.
    But society and history has shown that for the large mass of kids, an institution approach, seems best. I know of no football team to have won a national championship, with walk-ons. Sometimes a teacher (or coach), who has worked with hundreds of kids,(or players) CAN know better than the parent what the child needs to know to get to the next level, and how to teach him that.

  116. Nick Literski says:

    Who’s to say what “proper” socialization is anyway? The STATE? Isn’t that even scarier than a handful of fundamentalists?

    Absolutely not. There’s nothing scarier than a handful of fundamentalists.

  117. Prarie Chuck #110,

    In fact there is remarkably little research on homeschooled children’s academic acheivement (though I did find published critique of the study you linked to, which expressed my concerns in greater detail and also noted that the author had an un-reported conflict of interest (i.e., strong connections to a homeschooler lobby group).

    However, I was able to find some in the Peabody Journal of Education (published by lawrence Earlbaum) on home schooling. (I will note that I had to use several research databases to find this.) While some of the articles reflected serious methodological problems (in one, a hypotheses was that there would not be a statistically significant relationships–a profound error in research design), there were a few that were ok, and one that had one that had a clear grasp on the methods. One addressed the socialization issue, and in reviewing a set of studies concluded that while homeschooled children do have similar (though still smaller) numbers of contacts with non-family members per week, the social networks had different characteristics (more significantly younger children, fewer peer-group interactions), and reported less intimate relationships with non-family members. (Medellin 2000)

    The best of the bunch was an article actually addressing, for the most part, the problems estimating numbers of homeschoolers and their most general characteristics, but it included the following footnote which is so important for these discussions that I reproduce it in toto:

    fn5: “Due tot he success of homeschooling lobbying organizations, there are no representative datasets for studying the achievement of homeschooled students. Soem states require homeschooling parents to demonstrate that their children have made academic progress, but often this can be accomplished in one of several ways, including presenting a portfolio of materials, being evaluated by a certified teacher, or having the child take an age-approriate achievement test. Not only do many states allow parents to choose whether to use and achievement test, but the parents are often allowed to choose the test. In some states, the results must be reported to the school district. Even in those states, state low generally bans using them for research.
    E. Isenberg, “What Have We Learned About Homeschooling?”, Peabody Journal of Education, 82: (2-3), 387-409 (2007)

    My little research project leads me to several conclusions:
    1. There is very little research being done on these topics, and certainly not in top-flight journals (i.e., not ones with high impact scores).
    2. Claims by homeschoolers that quantitative data support their claims that homeschooling does not lead to lower levels of achievement _on average_ are without foundation because representative data simply do not exist; appeals to SAT score comparisons or standardized test scores are methodologically flawed because they necessarily involve strong selection biases that very likely tend to inflate the reported average homeschool results.
    3. Discussions of the socialization impact of homeschooling would be best focused not in terms of number of interations, but in terms of quality (i.e., intimacy level) and quantity of non-family peer relationships, which seem to be lacking in the homeschooled context.

  118. Katie Langston says:

    Ray (#114)–I see where you’re coming from, and I think you make a compelling argument. I guess what it boils down to for me is that I really don’t trust the State to determine or regulate what is right for individual families–even when it comes to education. That’s putting a lot of power in their hands, and it’s just too scary. While it’s true that there will be negative effects in some children as a result (i.e. poor socialization or academic performance), that is an outcome I’m willing to endure so that parents can retain their freedom to act in what they believe is their child’s best interest without hindrance from the government.

    After all, there are plenty of poorly-socialized, academic under-achievers in the public school system as well. The State is clearly not the most effective enforcer of societal values.

    Nick (#116)–You got it partly right. The only thing scarier than a handful of fundamentalists is a handful of fundamentalists in charge of the government. Making sure governments don’t overstep their bounds (by taking parental rights upon themselves, for example) is the safest way to ensure this never happens.

  119. You know there are some really nice fundamentalists out there…

  120. #119 – That’s what many of my Protestant friends say about Mormons. They really wish the nice ones wouldn’t burn in Hell, but them’s the rules.

  121. I read this report a while ago and found it very interesting:

    http://www.fraserinstitute.org/commerce.web/publication_details.aspx?pubID=4932

    The Fraser Institute is know as a conservative think tank. And I will warn you, it’s Canadian. But the report uses US and Canadian data. Please note the option to download a free version.

  122. The Fraser Institute report includes no new information. Given it’s advocacy position (rather than research orientation), unsurprisingly, it quotes the same old bad data.

    Even it acknowledges the difficulty of determining how many homeschoolers there are, noting that homeschooling organizations in the US and Canada report substantially higher numbers than state and provincial authorities (and Isenberg also agrees that the numbers are significantly higher than the state records). When one considers these much higher numbers, it becomes clear that those who do participate in the kinds of tests that Runder (Prarie Chuch’s link’s author) and SAT’s are a far from universal subset of the total homeschooling population, and therefore almost certainly have different characteristics than most homeschoolers–and again, most likely characteristics that tend to inflate the average score reports derived therefrom.

  123. #118:”The State is clearly not the most effective enforcer of societal values.” I would say the opposite. The State has always been the Great Enforcer. That’s it’s job. That’s why it has placed a million people in jail. That’s why it writes you a parking ticket.The State is the one that says your kids must be in school, one way or the other.
    It appears the jury is still out on the value of Home Schooling. But we do know without public schools, there would be no Nation. We do know hundreds of millions, (maybe billions if you court the world),have passed through public schools with success.

  124. Yes, Nazi Germany loved THE STATE Bob. That great equalizer, that great parent. One reason Hitler outlawed homeschooling in Nazi Germany was to have full control of the children in state run schools. Control the minds of the youthful masses-control the world. Cue in music from 1984.

    Unfortunately the state is the enforcer of societal, mass market values. But the state does not foster the development of individuality, talent, or genius. It does teach people how to be good parrots and good cogs in the industrial wheel, though. Which is what public education has always intended to do. Those that want their kids to make a difference in the world (and those with money) choose private over public education for specifically that reason.

    I would also submit that millions (or billions-not sure where your getting your data from) survived without compulsary education and “succeeded” in past centuries. But what is your yardstick of success? Just getting by? A mortgage, 2.5 kids, a few vehicles? Is education more than a piece of paper and some symbols? Do we truly “salt” the earth with more cogs in the wheel or with future leaders that are willing to buck social norms and question conformity.

    Fact is: critical thinking is not taught in the public school arena but, many are right, it is a great place to indoctrinate the individual on the might and right of societal norms and mores. There is a strict social code you must adhere to or prepare to be ostracized.

  125. Muslims, and most everybody else, should be allowed to home school. Yes, there may be some home-schoolers who don’t end up with very good education, and yes we should make it easy for people to attain one. So, I do think that some minimal requirements and regulations are okay to help ensure that this takes place. But strict educational requirements on the parent are unnecessary, not because the parent shouldn’t be qualified to teach, but because, just because you meet the requirements doesn’t mean you are a good teacher (I’ve had plenty of mediocre/bad teachers in my public schools, who I suppose were hired because they were qualified), and just because you don’t meet the requirements doesn’t mean you are a bad teacher or uneducated on a subject–classes aren’t the only ways to learn.

    In the end, this discussion of the venue (whether it be the living room of the home or the classroom of the school) where education takes place is unimportant. There seems to be no conclusive evidence (though this may be largely due to lack of reliable studies) that it really matters whether education is primarily done in a school or in a home. But it does matter that parents are involved and show to their kids that education is a priority. To understand the great influences of parents, peers, and culture on the educational attainment of a child I recommend reading Beyond the Classroom by Laurence Steinberg. This book (based on the findings from a well executed and designed study) shows the more fundamental causes of poor education, and they aren’t where the education takes place.

  126. #124: Wow! Somebody needs their nap! If you are home-schooling, I suggest you outsource the History lessons.
    ‘Billions’ comes from China and India, etc..
    Remember, I’m a guy of the 1960s, who saw public school kids in riots against authority all the time.
    I read these Blogs because I find “critical thinking “. I would guess (?)most posters came from the public schools.

  127. China and India. Great example of public schools Bob. Really.

  128. #127: Thank you, I am glad we found some agreement.

  129. TMD,
    I have a father-in-law who has done extensive research on this matter. If you would like, I could give your email to him so that he could give you the best research of which he is aware (I am, myself, a neophyte). You could email me at hpsoandsos at gmail dot com.

  130. Katie Langston says:

    The State has always been the Great Enforcer. That’s it’s job.

    Huh. I always thought the primary job of the State was to protect its citizens from the abuse and tyranny of criminals, governments, and foreign powers.

    I could be wrong though. I *am* a product of the public school system.

  131. There are several reasons we homeschool our kids and Jami mentioned it in a previous post. It is that we have a stewardship to give them the best experiences in order to help our kids reach their full potential.

    We understand today immensely more about the brain and how people actually learn and acquire new skills than we did when the education systems were created. The public education system goes against many of these principles of learning.

    1) Listening to lectures is not an effective method of learning yet this is the model by which our schools are based, especially universities. We make the mistake in thinking that in order to learn one must go to school.

    2) People enter a subject with altering levels of understanding. To expect everyone to follow along and pick up on the same level the teacher decided to start is far fetched.

    3) People learn at various rates. To expect a class of 20-35 students to follow the teacher and progess at the same rate and reach a certain level of understanding will bore some students and go over the head of others (lost).

    4) People have varying learning styles. If a teacher has 20-35 students it is difficult for them to curtail the instruction for the needs of each student.

    The biggest appeal for us to homeschooling is that we can guide our kids to learn about things which interest them and we can guide them through inquiry and scholarship. The prevalent attitude in public school is that school (learning) is something that is forced upon you and hate. It’s more about getting a good grade than actually learning. Many institutions of learning are more concerned about teaching than learning.

    For these reasons we feel homeschool provides a better framework for reaching their potential and accomplish the work they are here to do.

  132. #130: “Provide for the common DEFENSE, and promote the general WELFARE.(Two very costly ideas!)

  133. Fwiw, it would be really nice if just one post that mentions homeschooling didn’t turn into a fight over whether homeschooling is good or bad. There is a very profound question / point in the post, and it largely has been ignored – including by my later comments.

    Steve wrote:

    “The notion occurs to me: some people probably feel the same about Mormon homeschoolings. I’m not sure if that’s really true, but it gives me pause nonetheless. And it makes me suspicious that what’s really going on in my mind is little more than a faux liberalism that pretends to say, you are free to do as you please but in reality adds the postscript, so long as it’s what I would do. Another layer of hypocrisy for our modern times.”

    I’d really like to hear people’s thoughts about that.

  134. #131: You did make a good argument against “Correlation”.

    For my mom, I know she did her best with her ‘stewardship’.
    She made sure her kids had a good breakfast, packed a good lunch, had a good dinner waiting. She made sure homework was done, and spoke with our class teacher to be sure we were doing our best in class. For her, that was her best.
    Each student had a ‘card’, If you were good in Math, your card said so. Your card and you would be sent to the best class next year (called tracking). If you were bad in English, then you were so assigned.
    I just don’t see how comparisons can ever be made? If you had ten in your home school, you would likely fail(?) If the pubic schools had ten in their classes, they likely would do better.

  135. #133: Ray, I don’t think it is “faux liberalism” I think it is “libertarianism”. I think a good ‘Liberal’ (yes, maybe me) wants all the kiddies getting the same education, no matter how rich, or caring, or well educated their parents are.

  136. (135)Bob? You want children who have rich, caring and well-educated parents to have the same education as the children of poor, self-absorbed, ignoramuses? How are we going to do that?

    I think I must have missed your point entirely.

    (133) Ray, I think it is clear that many people feel very threatened by homeschooling and very distrustful of parents in general.

    Steve’s “You are free to do what you please (as long as it’s what I would do)” covers a great deal of this discussion.

    You are free to homeschool as long as you don’t get too religious with your children, as long as you are as qualified as I think you should be, as long as you are tested the state, as long as your children are tested by the state, as long as you fill out normal report cards, as long as there aren’t so many of you that you threaten the funding stream of public education, as long as you continue to teach about Greece, Rome and India in the sixth grade, as long as you homeschool in the exact way as the system you are walking away from schools.

    Thank you. That was very cathartic.

  137. #136: Equality is the goal of Liberalism. Individualism is the goal of Conservatism. Leave me alone is the goal of Libertarianism.
    That’s why Liberals like “Our Money”, Conservatives “Their Money”, and Libertarians have “No Money”.

  138. I would like simply to chime in as an old homeschool and public school mom. My children homeschooled (THEIR choices) in elementary school and then enrolled (on their own various time-tables) in public schools in middle school or high school. My daughters currently are majoring in Russian and biology in college. My son is working on his PhD in political science. They are confident, charitable, open-minded, capable adults for which I am very grateful.

    Being a competent homeschool family requires a great of clarity of focus, love and dedication. Being a competent public school family requires the same.

    Some public schools are excellent, some are horrendous. Some homeschooling families do an excellent job and some are a disaster.
    I believe that each parent is responsible for creating, to the best of his or her ability, an environment for creative, enriching, learning, using whichever resources they have available, private, public or at home. I believe that, for each child and for each family, that best mix of resources will be different. And I support the government in its efforts to protect children from abuse and have found, over the decades, that, in all educational venues, it does a less than stellar, though well-meaning job at it.

    I have also found that consciencious parents, in general, in their anxiousness to do what is best for their children, feel threatened by or superior to other parents who choose educational options different from the ones that they have chosen and tend to see more clearly the failures of those who have chosen differently than they have.

    It behooves us to cease to harp on which educational choice is most responsible/helpful/academically satisfying/socially enriching/culturally advantageous etc. etc. and instead simply do what we can to applaud each success in each venue and lend assistance, to the best of our ability, to each struggling failure.

  139. I would like simply to chime in as an old homeschool and public school mom. My children homeschooled (THEIR choices) in elementary school and then enrolled (on their own various time-tables) in public schools in middle school or high school. My daughters currently are majoring in Russian and biology in college. My son is working on his PhD in political science. They are confident, charitable, open-minded, capable adults for which I am very grateful.

    Being a competent homeschool family requires a great of clarity of focus, love and dedication. Being a competent public school family requires the same.

    Some public schools are excellent, some are horrendous. Some homeschooling families do an excellent job and some are a disaster.
    I believe that each parent is responsible for creating, to the best of his or her ability, an environment for creative, enriching, learning, using whichever resources they have available, private, public or at home. I believe that, for each child and for each family, that best mix of resources will be different. And I support the government in its efforts to protect children from abuse and have found, over the decades, that, in all educational venues, it does a less than stellar, though well-meaning job at it.

    I have also found that consciencious parents, in general, in their anxiousness to do what is best for their children, feel threatened by or superior to other parents who choose educational options different from the ones that they have chosen and tend to see more clearly the failures of those who have chosen differently than they have.

    It behooves us to cease to harp on which educational choice is most responsible/helpful/academically satisfying/socially enriching/culturally advantageous etc. etc. and instead simply do what we can to applaud each success in each venue and lend assistance, to the best of our ability, to each struggling failure.

  140. I apologize for the double post.

  141. If ever a post was worth repeating, it was that one, mb. Thanks.

  142. Has anyone considered the fact that since school budgets are based on the number of children attending, and that large numbers of home schooled children has an indirect negative impact on the power and wealth of the Teacher Associations?

    I’m in a secondary education program and it still astonishes me how extremely ruthless the unions are about maintaining control and power.

    Additionally, I find it terrifying that so many people seem perfectly willing to make the argument that you can force parents who are not abusing their children to accept state control of their children’s destiny.

    Why are people so distrustful of parents but so trusting of the government?

  143. #142 – Which comments support the last two paragraphs?

  144. I have spent a lot of time reading all these posts, Whew! I sent all my students through public school. I was a very involved parent. I feel very good about my students education. Not perfect for sure, but I feel that overall it gave my kids a great start in life. I work at the school they attended as the Distance Learning Facilitator, where I work with students that stay at home and take online classes. They come to me when it’s time for a test so that I can proctor them.
    I have seen good examples of homeschooling, but not perfect there either. I have seen horrible examples, where I really worry what will become of those kids when they have to face the world.
    I have a pet peeve too. I am sick of homeschool parents looking down on other parents (at church) that don’t homeschool their kids. Too often they have the attitude that if you don’t homeschool your kids then you don’t love them as much as those who do. I agree that they have the right to homeschool their kids. My kids have good friends that have been homeschooled and I believe my kids are just as well educated as they are. And my kids grew up as strong faithful LDS people. They were the only members in their school. They often faced difficult situations, but they are thankful for the experience they gained and they are not afraid to send their own kids to public school. The important thing is that I know they will be very involved parents overseeing their children’s education.

  145. I have something to add. Are there kids in public school that do poorly? YES. But almost without fail they come from homes where there is no support for education. They never do their homework, there is never any accountability to their parents, and they really don’t care if they pass or fail. Unfortunately some parents sign the paperwork for their kids to be homeschooled so they don’t have to be bothered by the school. Poor parenting is poor parenting wherever it takes place.

    For those of you that are concerned about how the US test results are lower than many other countries, especially those of the orient you need to learn about the difference between our education system and theirs. We had a student from Hong Kong live with us for a year as a foreign exchange student. We learned sooooo much. In Hong Kong students all go to school until 9th grade, then they had to pass stringent tests to go on and their parents have to pay from then on. They continue to take very hard and stressful tests to be allowed to continue with their education. Chui Tze Ching, our chinese daughter was amazed that all American children are educated all the way through the 12th grade. The story is similar from the Korean and Taiwanese students we have had at school. So when we report test results in high school we are comparing apples to oranges. They are testing the best of the best and we are testing everyone. Obviously we will have a huge disadvantage in that type of comparison.

  146. The worst of all scenarios is forced assimilation. I think we would see violent uprisings if we tried that.

    The problem isn’t with homeschooling. If the parents are teaching their children things which will lead to the breaking of our nation’s laws, that can be handled under current law. Restricting homeschooling will not help.

    If they just want to protect their children from the “immoral” Americans, than they probably have a point in there somewhere.

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