Alleys Are The Footnotes Of Avenues



Can Public Schools Learn Something From the Experiences of Homeschooling Moms?


 The Homeschooling Controversy


A Kaleidoscope of Ideas




America's Students

Diverse, Bountiful, Treasured

By Max Holmes


Are they better served by the structured, one-size-fits-most education offered by most public schools, or by the domestically-devised non-professional, individualized approaches of the homeschooling parents?




The Pros and Cons 



  "You don't have to be a weatherman to see which way the wind is blowing."

-Bob Dylan


Bill and Cindy's Blog

Homeschooling can be a hot topic. I have spoken with some parents who feel that it is absolutely wrong to keep your children at home and not allow them the opportunity to attend "regular" school. I have also known families who believe home schooling is the absolute best choice, and they would never send their kids to the "system". My family is somewhere in the middle. I will speak candidly about my experience, and hopefully not offend anyone or hurt any feelings.

There are 5 kids in my family
Becky - now 29 was homeschooled from 7th grade until graduation. She is a Registered Nurse.
Me - now 27. Homeschooled from 5th grade until 9th grade. Then public high school Now an OB/GYN resident physician
Tommy - now 24. Homeschooled from 3rd grade until graduation. Now a police officer.
Betsy - now 19 -Homeschooled from kindergarten until graduation, with 1 or 2 years of public school during the elementary years. Now dancing with a professional dance company, and going to Hawaii next year to study dance.
Drew - now 17 - Also homeschooled from kindergarten until 9th grade. Now in public service. Wants to be a youth pastor.

So, as you can see we have some who were home schooled since the beginning, and some who chose to attend public school. One of the things that has a huge impact on me about homeschooling is the sacrifice my parents made to give us what they believed was the absolute best. My mom went back to nursing school when I was in high school, and my dad worked full time. It was a huge strain on the family to home school 5 children, but it was important enough to them to make it work. Now, that being said, we were never "forced" to home school. The option to attend a public school was always there.


The Pros

1. Amazing opportunities. One particular project we had was to pick a painting that was displayed at the Chicago Art Museum, and research the artist. We each wrote a creative writing story about the piece, and even drew our own interpretation of the piece. Then we took a "field trip" to Chicago and got to see the art in person. Awesome experiences like this would be hard to do in public school

2. Family bonding. My home school years hold some of the best memories. I am so close to my parents and my siblings, and I believe a lot of this is because of the teamwork and close contact with my sibs. We had some really really fun times of all being home together during the day.

3. Thinking "outside the box". Home schooling allowed my parents to teach each of us in the way we learned best. My sister and I are very independent. We liked having a set schedule and setting about our work. My brothers learned very differently, and my parents were able to adjust to that, and teach them in the ways they learned best. Students who learn by different mechanisms often get "overlooked" in the public school system


The Cons

1. Sense of entitlement - I have been around a LOT of homeschoolers. Sometimes these kids grow up thinking that they are better than the other kids. That they are smarter because they finished their "5th grade math" in 3rd grade. There is sometimes a tendency towards "know it all" type behavior. Homeschoolers get basically one-on-one attention with their number 1 fan - their mom (or dad), and this can sometimes lead to over inflated little kid egos. that may sound silly, but sometimes this is hard to see in your own kid.

2. Weak spots - It is hard to teach something you are not interested in, or not good at. Sometimes these things get swept under the rug. I have known homeschooled kids who are awesome in math, but have no idea about history or geography. Or are very avid readers, but have never advanced in math. The curriculum teaching seems to really address this problem, and help ensure a well rounded education.

3. Socialization - I know this is kind of the touchy one. There are some hom schooled kids who are rarely around other kids except their families. I know this is true, because I know some of these kids. This is a fairly easy one to fix though - YMCA sports, music lessons, church...etc. We were really involved in our church, and were there several times a week with the youth group, we also played sports and all took piano lessons.

4. Lack of independence - this is one I have come to realize recently. Some of the lifelong homeschoolers don't feel comfortable doing things on their own. They have never had to navigate the halls of a high school. Never had to find their own locker, or ask their teacher for an extension on their homework. Heading off to college can be a really, really scary experience if you always had your mom, or your brother or sister to help with the normal tasks.



Advantages of Homeschooling



Top Reasons Not to Homeschool

(Tongue Firmly in Cheek)

By Jim Muncy



8. Skill development: public schools do a great job of teaching children to sit down and shut up while the teacher engages in crowd control and mindless administrative duties. The ability to put one's mind on hold, sit there and do nothing is a skill that will be in high demand in the competitive marketplace of the future.

7. Goals 2009: I want my children to learn all the correct stuff. Given how fast history changes, I want to be sure they are up on the most recent revisions.

6. Scheduling benefits: Staying on the same schedule as everybody else has its benefits. That way, when we go to Orlando, we can make sure that we spend our time waiting in lines rather than wasting it on all those rides and attractions.

5. Close friendships: I like the fact that my children are spending so much of their time with people not in their family. I would much rather my children's closest friendships be outside the family rather than within.

4. Separation of church and state: As long as we keep church and state separate, then the more time I can keep my kids under the control of the state, the less time they can possible be under the harmful influence of the church.

3. Socialization: What possible better way could there be to give your children the social skills they will need as adults than to stick them with children their own age all day. Besides, the best influence on your child is the one randomly assigned to the seat behind him or her in home room.

2. Class size: Learning can't occur in groups of less than twenty students. There is nothing quite like being lock-stepped through material with thirty other students to really develop within a person that true love for learning.

1. Class pace: I want my child to know how to learn at the proper pace. If a child can't keep up with the class, then it serves that child right to be left behind in the dust. If the child is learning too fast, then he or she needs to learn to slow down. And besides, what gives any child the right to assume that he or she can learn things he or she wants to learn rather than what the board of education decides should be taught for any given grade level. Anything learned at the wrong time might just as well be left unlearned.


The Establishment Feels Disenfranchised

Notes from an Alaskan Legislative Study



"...with no further requirements for children being home schooled, superintendentsí satisfaction level with the quality of education was low. Three-fourths (76.6%) of the superintendents indicated that they do not have any confidence that these children are receiving an education equivalent to that provided by the public schools. Approximately 58.5% of the superintendents stated that they were notified when a child withdraws from the system; 39.4% were not notified (Question: are the lost percents the product of publicly educated bureaucrats or homeschooled bureaucrats)? Of those who were notified, 58.2% initiated contact with the family while the remaining 41.8% did not. Hence, these numbers do not support consistent interaction and follow up with these families to determine their reasons for withdrawing by the school districts statewide."



The Case Against Homeschooling

By Jan Castagnero


Homeschooling, when chosen for the right reasons and implemented in a correct way, can be an effective means of educating children. However, not everyone choosing to homeschool their children should embark on this route. Let's face it, just like there are some parents that should never have had kids, well, there are some parents that should not hom school their children. These types of parents do not have the skills or understanding in order to give their children a full and effective educational experience.

Not every parent is qualified to be an educational teacher, and this is when the choice for homeschooling is an often selfish one, and the child's best interest is not first and foremost. There are numerous tools available for parents that choose to home school, but if the parent themselves are void in some or all the curriculum realms, they will be fast tracking their child to a lack of knowledge. Should we not want our children to excel and surpass our own skills and experiences, is that not what we are supposed to strive for, giving our children access to the best education possible? So, if you yourself of void educationally, how can you expect to guide the best education possible for your children?

Some choosing to home school are doing so for religious convictions and want to only expose their children to a religious sensitive curriculum, while some others are paranoid and protective. They fear the big evil world out there will expose their child to common sense reasoning that they want to stifle and protect them from. Its plain paranoia and it can cause a child's development to be delayed on many levels. Again, it all goes back to some parents not being qualified to take on the role of educational teacher. Some parents can be an effective teacher, while some are selfishly choosing to home school when they cannot fulfill the requirements of ensuring that their child will excel academically, and only care that they excel religiously and are sheltered away from all bad in society.

The true case against homeschooling should point to whether or not the parent is qualified and able to ensure that the child will excel academically and acquire the knowledge needed to go on to higher education; so, they can eventually become a productive member of society. If the only goals you have are to protect your child from the evil world by shutting them in your home and to instill your personal interpretations of your chosen religion, you may be doing more harm then good to your child.

Children have to learn by experiences, both good and bad. They have to be allowed to make mistakes in life so they can learn the common sense ways of resolving situations. No one wants their child to fall off the positive path of life, but if we shelter them so much, they will never learn the skills they will need when they are adults.



Further Considerations

By Beverly Hernandez