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The Therapy Sessions
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
 

Home schooled kids doing well?


Horrors! Their teachers never got certified! Where is the NEA?
CNN.com - Home-schooled students head to college

AP) -- Home-schooling advocate Karl Bunday used to get a lot of blank looks when he visited college fairs in his native Minnesota and pitched the virtues of students educated around the kitchen table.

Nearly a decade later, things have changed. "It seems like this time, everybody has heard of home schooling," said Bunday, who operates the Web site learninfreedom.org about "taking responsibility for your own learning."

While exact figures are not available, the number of middle and high school students educated at home is now estimated at between 1 million and 2 million.

Until recently, educators say, home-schooled students mostly gravitated to small, primarily religious colleges. Now, as the movement keeps gaining in popularity, they can be found on many -- even most -- campuses nationwide.

"As the numbers (of home schooled) have increased, and there have also been more admitted to college, they've actually performed quite well," said Barmak Nassirian, a policy analyst with the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

Of course they have. Parents have a clear interest in seeing their children do well.

Ten years ago the NEA was arguing that such children would be socially-warped morons, unable to compete with students who had been marinated in modern educational theory.

UPDATE: Kem White comments:
I truly doubt even the NEA would suggest that home-schooled kids would be "socially-warped morons". I guess I'd like to see what you're basing that assertion on.

My oldest son is a high school senior. Five of his six classes are AP. Neither I nor my wife have the academic capability to teach him. And here I mean teach; not just possess the requisite knowledge. Generally speaking someone who teaches for a living is going to be better able to find effective teaching methods for bright high schoolers than some parent who's trying to figure it out for the first time. Throw in the socialization aspects of high school - teams, orchestra, drama productions, student government, dances - and I believe home schooled high schoolers miss out on a lot and are at serious risk of subpar educations. Too much to justify home schooling for high schoolers in my opinion. (Unless the kids already happen to be socially-warped morons when they enter high school, in which case I say leave them home)-K


Fair enough.

The NEA never called home-schooled students "socially warped morons." But the organization was quite strenuous in trying to restrict home schooling, and in attempting to forbid it at the local level.

The NEA views anything that competes with ITS public schooling as a threat (private (particularly religious) schools, vouchers and charter schools...etc).

My view: the more different approaches, the better. Competition benefits everyone.

Home schooling is not for everyone (and it is not for me... yet.). But if some parents want to try it, I trust that they will attempt to do what is best for their children. Even the attempt tells the children that education is important.

Seeing how many children are being failed by traditional schooling, I say "what the hell!"

As for the "effective teaching methods" of modern teachers...I personally believe that there are no shortcuts, and no special methods to learning. Hard work pays off, and mastery of a subject is its own reward. A parent will be more likely to demand mastery than a distracted teacher, and I believe that - if it is attained - outweighs the social advantages of traditional education.

(Lest we forget: the greatest leader our nation has ever known - Abraham Lincoln - was home schooled!)

And that is what we observing: in most cases, home schooled students are not just equaling their peers; they are outperforming them.

Many teachers today are students of things like "educational theory." Many don't even have degrees in the subjects that they teach. How are they supposed to convey a joy of learning, teaching a subject about which they know only the basics?

It is the joy of learning that matters. You can't certify a person to teach such things. The love of learning is infectious, and it is the kind of thing that can easily be passed from parent to child.

Parents - faced with the bleak and stifling curriculum of a local school - should not be denied the option of giving it to their children directly.

It's a matter of having a choice.

We libertarians love choice.


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