Thursday, January 04, 2007

Is this how the "professionals" think of us?

Here are some bits from an article out of a North Carolina paper.

Two million students are being home schooled in the United States and that number is rapidly growing. No longer a taboo topic, parents now admit they'd rather keep their kids at home to teach lessons they won't find in public schools.
You mean lessons in phonics, math drills, diagramming sentences, memorizing speeches and poetry, art, music, and recess? All of these have been dropped or scaled back from public school curriculums in recent years.
But are they harming their children?
How? By sacrificing any/all free time we have to teach our children and giving them opportunities to learn and interact with others?

"We are professionals, we know how to teach and you need to be their parents,” said high school history teacher Diane Birdwell.
I was one of these professionals before I had children. I know what is taught in many university Education Departments and the quality of many "professional teachers". (Yes, I acknowledge that there are many wonderful teachers) I prefer to teach my children myself.

"I have seen the results of when they don't do it right and they fail or give up and the kids come into the public school system and they are behind their peers both socially and academically,” Birdwell said.
Most of the children who are behind socially and are academically labeled as failures are public school students. There are many examples of children who have been deemed deficient by the professionals, pulled out of school by their parents and have gone on to become successful learners.

However, studies show home schooled students score up to 30 percent higher on standardized tests than public school kids. But what about their socialization skills?
Okay, now we will concede that homeschooled kids are usually smarter, but....

Most homeschool parents overcompensate for their child's social "isolation". My two school-age children are involved in swimming lessons, riding lessons, piano lessons, art lessons, Cub Scouts, Little Flowers, CCD (Catholic Sunday School), serving Mass, co-op field trips, and have siblings and friends to play with.

High school history teacher Diane Birdwell says there are some lessons parents aren't qualified to teach. ...most teachers say parents can give Bible lessons after school, as long as they leave the reading, writing and arithmetic to them.

So, you suck up the best 8 hours of a child's day (and assign 2 hours worth of homework) and we are supposed to fit in religion class, sports, and music lessons in the remaining time? You fill their heads with secular humanistic philosophy, multiculturalism, and sex ed, leaving little time for parents to instill their values and morals to their children (but maybe that's the point).

I don't see the public schools doing a fantastic job teaching those reading, writing, and arithmetic skills to the students they already have. I wouldn't buy a car that is known to be hard to start, belches black smoke, and breaks down on the freeway. Why would I buy an education for my kid that is just as much of a lemon?


Anonymous said...

This arrogance makes me want to vomit. Who does Ms. Birdwell blame for the many high school drop outs who go on to sell drugs or do other nefarious activities? How about the girl who gets herself knocked up at age 17 and goes on to single-parenthood never doing more than an accounts payable clerk job and living paycheck to paycheck? My guess is that she would blame the parents there too. Sorry, lady, you can't point fingers at the failures of homeschooling without acknowledging your own. I'd like to see the stats on the percentage of homeschool failures compared to public schools. My wager is that more homeschoolers outperform in real life than their public school counterparts.

Anonymous said...

I was reading an article on another blog--I forget which one now--where the woman posited that most teachers and educrats have a poor opinion of homeschoolers because the ones they see are the ones who may be abusing the system. Don't like the teacher/school/work load, so they pull their kids. A few months of video games on the couch, and the kid is back in school. Lather, rinse, repeat. They never get to see regular, normal homeschoolers (like us!) because we have absolutely no contact with the school, so their opinions are formed on the very small percentage of homeschoolers who actually do have contact with the schools.

I think that makes it incumbent on all of us to get out there and make those contacts with the school board (hey, congrats on your re-election, and oh BTW this is what homeschoolers look like, call me if you have questions, etc.) or with Scout activities (our Girl Scout activities are all school-based, giving my 20-girl homeschooled GS troop a great opportunity to break some myths), and just generally showing the schools that we're not what they seem to think we are.

Anonymous said...

I actually have had a couple of email conversations with Ms. Birdwell. She reminds me of my 6 aunts and uncles who are professional teachers. They simply do not understand calling. She didn;t think a parent could effectively teach by reading a teacher's manual. I have an unlce with a PhD in history who is teaching high school math, for the first time in his 20 year career. Guess what? He is only one lesson ahead of the students.
Great job getting the word out. I read your blog often. I love the name. I blogged about this too

kat said...

Excellent points!

My mother is a teacher. She was always mentioning to me homeschoolers, re-enrolled in her school who couldn't read, hadn't learned any history... She was very against me homeschooling for the first several years. However, after she tested their reading levels HERSELF she has acknowledged that my kids are doing great!

The Opinionated Homeschooler said...

"But are they harming their children?"

"We know how to teach and you need to be their parents."

"most teachers say parents can give Bible lessons after school, as long as they leave the reading, writing and arithmetic to them."

I find myself oddly comforted by the increasingly hysterical and uncompromising tone of these sorts of articles. We are winning in the court of public opinion, and the educrats know it. It's no longer enough, as it was ten years ago, to describe homeschooling and count on horrified reactions from the public; they have to frantically insist that the public be horrified.