Homeschooling Is Not A Good Idea

April 21, 2005 — 9 Comments

[My NEW SITE is Coming Soon and the ONLINE HOMESCHOOL CONVENTION IS UP and you have to check out this blog]
I’m going to get tons of hits from google on this one. Of course, it will be better than hits from the guy who searched for “Amish Speaking in Tongues.”
Scott Thomas believes Homeschooling is a bad idea. So do I agree with him? Nope.
So why do I not agree with him and his article?
Well, first of all, Mr. Thomas makes a few decent points, saying that public schooled teachers are trained to be the best in what they do. They go to college and get degrees, Ph.D’s and whatever else. Most homeschooling parents would go under the “untrained” category.
Point made and filed.
So he goes on to say:

“From my observation[s]…parents choose to home school as a form of protection for their children.”

And then goes on to list some of the bad things that homeschoolers may want to protect from.

“I don’t like all of that junk, either. But, at what price, protection?”

So his next point to make is that homeschooling parents are not qualified for the job.

“As one public school teacher told me, “As a teaching professional, I am deeply hurt by the Christian community’s pull-out from the public school system. The (public school) teachers I know are excellent! And many of them are Christians! They have a wealth of experience and resources that can’t be matched by home schooling parents. Not only are teachers highly-educated (all having Bachelor’s degrees, and many having Master’s or Ph.D’s), but they are specialists in their fields. We go to conferences, read up on the latest research and have teams of Master Teachers who mentor educators new to the profession.

“Most parents do not have the level of expertise that we do. The parents that I have seen home school their children often struggle along needlessly, comparing various curriculums, uncertain of what their children should know. Add to that children who are struggling with disabilities or learning to read, and the gap between what parents know about teaching and what the trained professionals know, widens. Most adults wouldn’t rewire the electrical system of their home on their own, they lack the expertise to do it right. Many would hire a professional. That, in one sense is what teachers are hired to do.”

He’s stuck on the knowledge only.

“Let’s give parents, most of whom are NOT great teachers, the option to send their kids to real, professional, great teachers.”

Let’s just take a look at some official stats Mr. Thomas:

“Dr. Brian Ray, in the most in-depth nationwide study on home education across the United States, collected data on 5,402 students from 1,657 families. Homeschool students’ academic achievement, on average, was significantly above that of public-school students. In addition, the home educated did well even if their parents were not certified teachers and if the state did not highly regulate homeschooling.
–Home educators are able to be flexible and tailor or customize the curriculum to the needs of each child.
–In study after study, the home educated score better, on average, than those in conventional state-run schools (see table).
[Table states that in Reading, Language, and Math those in Public schools scored 50, and homeschoolers 65-80 (percentile).]
For learning disabled students, there are higher rates of academic engaged time in homeschooling and greater academic gains made by the home educated.”… [P]arents, even without special education training, provided powerful instructional environments at home…”

In regards to being socially able to function, you said “If you perceive problems with your public schools, you can choose, as a family, to be part of the solution, or you can run from the problems and home school.”
Well, as to those avoiding the problems:

“–Studying actual observed behavior, Dr. Shyers (1992) found the home educated have significantly lower problem behavior scores than do their conventional school agemates.
–Multiple studies show that the home educated have positive self-concepts.
–Homeschool students are regularly engaged in field trips, scouting, 4-H, and community volunteer work, and their parents (i.e., their main role models) are significantly more civically involved than are public school parents.”

You were probably expecting all these stats and rebuttals, etc.
I’d like to ask you if the teachers are bad and unqualified, how are homeschoolers getting such good stats when taking these tests? All of these homeschoolers are able to have a tailored education that many times is robbed them in public schools. Yes, there are teachers in public schools who are great teachers and are even Christians, but you can’t assure me that all my teachers will be able to effectively and personally teach me so that I can learn well.
And even if I had a Christian teacher, how would that help since the curriculum is totally Atheistic.
Quoting from Jake Smith of Virtue Magazine answering the question if he missed anything from being homeschooled:

“Of course you do! I missed hearing evolution being taught as a scientific fact; I missed the chance to be in a clique; I missed people trying to pressure me into drinking and smoking; I missed the chance to ignore people, just because they look, act or talk different than me.”

He’s homeschooled and goes to a technical school with those in public schools, so he would know something about it.
We do have to be careful thought that we aren’t so protected “that we don’t know how to engage those who don’t share our values.”(From the mailbag–My Uncle) He went on to say that sometimes we as Christians do the same, getting stuck in our protected churches, and not going and sharing to the society around us. But of course that doesn’t mean that we need to send kids to public schools to do it. Most times, we are better grounded in our faith and are ready to respond to the society when the time comes to do so better than those in public schools.
Now, before anti-Homeschoolers email me in droves, I hope you’ll ask yourself if you really are, at the end of the day, someone who can honestly say that the public schools are showing the best statistics knowledge wise and social wise. Please show me the stats…and keep the response clean.

Tim Sweetman

Posts

Tim Sweetman is a 22-year-old writer, blogger, and student who lives near our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. He has been much more widely known by his “code-name,” Agent Tim. This name also served as the name of his popular blog, which received over 750,000 visits between 2005 to 2007. In 2005, he quickly rose to become a leading teenage spokesperson and cultural critic within the booming blogosphere, taking on issues such as MySpace, alcohol, homeschooling, pride, racism, tolerance, and other topics relating to our culture today. His blog has come to the attention of people such as Albert Mohler, C.J. Mahaney, Alex and Brett Harris, and La Shawn Barber. Tim’s written work has appeared in Lifeway’s Living With Teenagers (February 2012), Lookout Magazine, FUSION Magazine, The Brink Online, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Virtue Magazine, Regenerate Our Culture Online Magazine, and on many other blogs and websites across the internet like Marry Well and the Lies Young Women Believe Blog. He has also been featured in WORLD Magazine, The Towers Magazine, and Maryland Newsline. He is scheduled to have an article appear in Veritas Magazine this December. Most recently, his work can be found on Focus on the Family’s Boundless Webzine. His personal interests include writing (surprise!) and sports, both watching and playing. He is a die-hard Washington Redskins fan.

9 responses to Homeschooling Is Not A Good Idea

  1. We didn’t feel led to educate at home so that our children wouldn’t have to face [insert list of negative social factors here]. Those are certainly side benefits. However, our choice began with the question, “What is the best educational opportunity for our children?” I remember the first time I seriously considered this as an option. I was sitting with three school teachers when one of them said, “Oh, if I just had about five students … just THINK of all we could do and learn!” The others sadly groaned and agreed.

    Hands down, homeschooling rose to the top. In fact, we don’t do a lot of things with Christian homeschool groups. We do our best to expose our children to many different people, with different ideas and beliefs. Yet, we don’t just throw them into that pool of diversity for seven hours a day, and then have to painfully pull conversation from them all evening. We explore these people together, and work through that … TOGETHER! That’s the joy of being with them most of the time.

    I also don’t agree that all PS teachers are better prepared to teach than the average parent. I prepare myself to teach my children. My son is dealing with some minor speech problems, so I buried myself in resources to be able to help him. My daughter shows mild symptoms of ADD. I have found multiple ways of helping her work through her difficulties.

    I am always looking for creative teaching ideas, and am able to share those with many of my PS teacher friends (who are delighted to learn something new!). They do the same for me. I have found THIS to be the norm in those I meet. In fact, I find us to be more well-rounded than the average PS teacher. We prepare ourselves to teach different learners, with different needs, on different levels and subjects. We don’t simply open up a book, read a chapter, then ask the review questions! I honestly believe (and see) that my children are receiving the best education they have available to them.

  2. You are right-public school teachers are experts in their field-they have to learn how to manage and effectively teach a class of 30 kids of varying learning styles and from varying backgrounds and keep them on task and interested for 6 hours a day. I am in no way qualified for that task I assure you.
    However, I do feel that I am best to tell you how my young child learns and what excites her and when she is not getting it, or is tired, bored etc. I know what thrills her, motivates her, intimidates her, etc. Thus, I am in a position to design an individual learning program for her and can switch methods quickly if I find one that isn’t working. I may have to read lots of info. on different curriculums, learning styles, etc to find the right ‘fit’ for my child, but what is wrong with that? Any dedicated parent would advocate endlessly for their child in any regard.
    You make the assumption that all kids are thriving academically with their trained teachers in public schools and that homeschool kids are floundering with their untrained parents. I think the results have proved otherwise.
    Also, my experience with the public school system is that kids are rapidly losing their childhoods with a pop culture that is seeping down into even the very young grades, where little kids are emulating pop idols and talking with a pseudo sophistication that is way above their years. There is a group think mentality that, unless your child is a very self possessed leader, can cause your child to be a victim of peer pressure at younger and younger ages. Do I want to protect my child from this? You bet I do. The gift of a childhood, with time to explore and develop creativity and a love for learning is the best gift I could give my child. Am I going to lock her in the house? No. I want her exposed to her peers and a variety of children and activities, but I don’t want those to be the predominate influence on her young life.
    If I come to a topic I can’t teach, then I will find the resources to accomplish this, either by tutor or something else. In this information age, there are a myriad of sources to be utilized. My daughter might even wish to return to public school. In that case, I would hope having home schooled her in the early years would give her a strong sense of self to do well academically and recognize and avoid negative peer pressure.

  3. Tim you said

    Well, first of all, Mr. Thomas makes a few decent points, saying that public schooled teachers are trained to be the best in what they do. They go to college and get degrees, Ph.D’s and whatever else. Most homeschooling parents would go under the “untrained” category.

    I do not concede this point at all. First most teachers are trained in how to teach NOT necessarily in an indepth subject. I have 3 sisters who all home educate but were teachers before hand they will vouch for this. I on the other hand majored in MATH and Computer Science. They were taught how to teach Math I was taught MATH. There is a difference.

    Homeschool parents are not untrained any more than PS teachers. While some may not have degrees don’t be impressed with letters after a name my mother did not have a degree and she taught me more than any PS teacher ever could.

    Dr. Spunky thD
    (That’s Dr. of thinkology it’s the degree scarecrow got after the wizard gave him a brain only mine came not from a wizard but from the Lord himself.)

  4. “And even if I had a Christian teacher, how would that help since the curriculum is totally Atheistic. “

    The curriculum is, and the fact that were a Christian teacher to even pray to God in the classroom outloud, they would get sued.

    What have we done to deserve a nation where you can get sued for praying yet tolerance is crammed down our throats in the next sentence?

    Perhaps the utter idiocy of the hypocrisy that is being sent out whether in public schools (I know this from friends), the media (I know this personally), and others is a factor in parents homeschooling.

    Nicely done Tim.

  5. For those interested in this issues, I would highly recommend the late Greg Bahnsen’s lecture Education and Covenant Faithfulness. This can be purchased for 1.99.

  6. Tim,

    I enjoyed your post. I was homeschooled in junior high and in high school which allowed me to go to a junior college at age 15, consequently receiving my B.A. at 20, top 5% of my class. I saw many benefits to homeschooling, but that was based on the fact that my parents have a great deal of integrity and are interesting in learning themselves.

    However, I was associated with several different homeschool groups, and I often did not see the same thing in other situations. Many times parents would wave a magic wand over their child and let them skip a grade every couple months, wouldn’t make them do much homework, and didn’t really challenge them academically, at all. Not to say that this isn’t the case at a public school, but cutting corners seemed to be an epidemic in homeschooling, and I’m still observing that even now.

    I also agree with the fact that many parents are in no way equipped to teach their children. I have tried to launch classes for homeschoolers based on my expertise, and have found it equivalent to pulling teeth when I try to explain that knowing the difference between Plato and Play-Dough is a big deal. Parents will be dismissive and tell me they’d rather teach their child, even though they haven’t the first clue who “this Plato guy” is.

    Again, there are many benefits, but there are also many pitfalls that I see far too many parents fall into far too many times.

    Very thought provoking post, though.

  7. I don’t think protection against the world is formost on the mind of homeschooling parents (at least not in my end of the World – PA). It has more to do with who should be the main teacher of your children.

    By the way, I was just sent this audio by Greg Strawbridge on The Necessity of Christian Education for our Children

  8. LOL…I know..that was great.

Leave a Reply

*

Text formatting is available via select HTML. <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>