Friday, July 8, 2011

The Case Against Homeschooling

BLOG NOTE:  This piece gets more hits on this blog than any other post here.
If you are looking for a true argument AGAINST homeschooling, check out my other post:

I admit that I seldom spend any time reading the blogs of others. Certain SPECIAL people and friends only. I don't know, blogs tend to be too much like this one:  narcissistic, rambling, and more like stream-of-conscious therapy. But today I went looking at blogs. I was looking for an example of a seriously angry anti-homeschooling person. And I found them! I really just wanted a little fun and to mock them a bit. Is that so bad?
I decided that, for fun, I would simply respond to each criticism point-by-point. Just for fun.

The blog post is called "The Case Against Homeschooling". It was a bit vitriolic for some reason; seems the author is a teacher but that doesn't explain that because most of the teachers that I know are truly wonderful humans who love learning and who love children.
Anyway, mre are her "top ten reasons" why she is against what she calls "homeschooling: great for self-aggrandizing, society-phobic mother...but not quite so good for the kid."

HER WORDS are in Blue.
MY WORDS are in Red. 
Please check the links in BOLD.   
Separate bolded words are separate links.

10. “You were totally home schooled” is an insult college kids use when mocking the geeky kid in the dorm (whether or not the offender was home schooled or not). And… say what you will… but it doesn’t feel nice to be considered an outsider, a natural outcropping of being homeschooled.

There is this part of me what wants to be VERY snarky about obnoxious near-adults still teasing (aka "bullying") "geeky" kids while in an institution of higher learning, such as college.  However, I will rise above that.
Is she saying that homeschooling has a certain connotation to uninformed individuals and a homeschooled student risks facing immature behavior that we typically associate with elementary school bullies?
Yes, wow, that is a problem.
On the other hand, Many selective colleges welcome homeschooled perspective students with alacrity. Some reports suggest that the traditional brick-and-mortar university is beginning to change to nontraditional higher education studiesAnd the HSLDA studies indicate significant success by homeschool students in the college milieu. Homeschool students tend to score higher on ACT tests and, while in school, tend to have higher GPA and earn more credit during their freshman year than the traditionally-schooled student. Some important people actually believe that "traditional school" is dying.

9. Call me old-fashioned, but a students’ classroom shouldn’t also be where they eat Fruit Loops and meat loaf (not at the same time I hope). It also shouldn’t be where the family gathers to watch American Idol or to play Wii. Students–from little ones to teens–deserve a learning-focused place to study. In modern society, we call them schools.

Sweetie, you're not "old-fashioned", you simply have a closed mind.
OOPs, snarky again?
My children, sometimes, DO have lessons where they have their breakfast and dinner. (Almost NEVER Fruit Loops and I'm a so-so meatloaf cook...) Also, we don't watch American Idol or any other reality TV show... We do like the Wii, though!
How can it possibly matter whether a meal was served on the same table that the math book is now sitting on? The same table that the dominoes were on last night. The same table that the kids used to play underneath for a fort. The same table that my mom lovingly gave me many years ago. And, when the books are out, that table IS a learning-focused place to study. 
Just to be clear, though, we also have a dedicated homeschool room with a lesson table, maps, books, etc. The kids far prefer lessons in alternative locations though, including that kitchen table. 

8. Homeschooling is selfish. According to this article in USA Today, students who get homeschooled are increasingly from wealthy and well-educated families. To take these (I’m assuming) high achieving students out of our schools is a disservice to our less fortunate public school kids. Poorer students with less literate parents are more reliant on peer support and motivation, and they  greatly benefit from the focus and commitment of their richer and higher achieving classmates.

Is this author suggesting that I should keep my children in under-staffed, under-financed, ailing schools?
This USA Today article, cited by the author goes on to state that the children often removed from public schools by their parents do so due to instances of  "mean" children in the schools, situations that schools are traditionally unable to handle.  
Is this author truly suggesting that my children should be in a public school in order to benefit the less-fortunate. Is that their job, to provide a successful educational experience for the other children in the class? Odd. 
Is this author suggesting that only the wealthy can homeschool? I, personally, know of dozens of families that homeschool on a dime, very frugally and very admirably. Homeschooling typically means that a family is now a single-income family, thereby increasing the financial instability of the family. (OR one of the many single parent households that manage to find a way to homeschool their children.)
In the meantime, the National Center for Education Statistics reports that the vast majority of people who choose to homeschool do it in direct response to concerns about the environment of the public school.
Additionally, the HSLDA asserts high instances of homeschoolers outperforming their public school peers.

If you COULD provide a better educational opportunity for your child, wouldn't you?

Not that I'm suggesting that these reputable news sources outshine the USA Today article the original blogger refers to...

Further, the St., news page for the St. Augustine Times in Florida report, "Another benefit is to the taxpayers, as home schooling currently saves about six million dollars to the county." I have no idea where this stat came from. I like it, but I can't find the reference for it.
Also, as a public school alumni, I don't remember a single "higher achieving" student ever helping ME out as a kid..?

7. God hates homeschooling. The study, done by the National Center for Education Statistics, notes that the most common reason parents gave as the most important was a desire to provide religious or moral instruction. To the homeschooling Believers out there, didn’t God say “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”? Didn’t he command, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me”? From my side, to take your faithful children out of schools is to miss an opportunity to spread the grace, power and beauty of the Lord to the common people. (Personally I’m agnostic, but I’m just saying…)

LOL, "personally I'm an agnostic, but I'm just saying". 
The cited USA Today article, (Can USA Today really be considered a primary source in most upper-level writing?) more and more families are claiming "social reasons" as the number one reason why they choose to homeschool their children. Again, the National Center for Education Statistics tells us that thirty percent of families who choose to homeschool do it with fervent belief that their spiritual needs will be better met outside of the public school setting. Who the heck is this author to suggest that she knows more about her god's mind than anyone else claims to know?

6. Homeschooling parent/teachers are arrogant to the point of lunacy. For real! My qualifications to teach English include a double major in English and education, two master’s degrees (education and journalism), a student teaching semester and multiple internship terms, real world experience as a writer, and years in the classroom dealing with different learning styles. So, first of all, homeschooling parent, you think you can teach English as well as me? Well, maybe you can. I’ll give you that. But there’s no way that you can teach English as well as me, and biology as well as a trained professional, and history… and Spanish… and art… and counsel for college as well as a school’s guidance counselor… and… and…

I'm CERTAIN this author meant to capitalize the words Homeschooling Parent, as it is used as a proper noun in this context...  What with her extensive credentials and all...
Certainly she had intended to write "you think you can teach English as well as I?"

I do NOT suggest that I, as a homeschooling parent, knows EVERYTHING. I don't intend to teach EVERYTHING to my child. What this author does not know (and can not know in her present frame of mind) is that homeschooling is far more about learning to learn than it is about spoon feeding bits of knowledge.

Homeschooling families have a major goal as that of Autonomous Learning. Autonomous education helps a person to develop their self-consciousness, vision, critical thinking, research skills, practicality, and freedom of discussion. These attributes serve to aid an individual, in this case, my children, in his or her independent learning.
As for the condemnation of lunatic arrogance, I do admit to being confident. I am a well-educated person, as is my husband. We are prepared to find out more, to continue to educate ourselves, and to correct ourselves when we are off-path.
Arrogance suggests that we already know everything. 
Even these schools would have to admit that they don't know everything.

5. As a teacher, homeschooling kind of pisses me off. (That’s good enough for #5.)

On the other hand, as a homeschooling parent, I have already expressed my true admiration for the good teachers of the world.  

The woman who authored this anti-homeschooling drivel is young.  She has much to learn; I have no doubt she will learn it. Overall, her writing suggests a defensiveness that tends to suggest insecurity in her own field. She will learn. I remember being this arrogant when I was young too.

4. Homeschooling could breed intolerance, and maybe even racism. Unless the student is being homeschooled at the  MTV Real World house, there’s probably only one race/sexuality/background in the room. How can a young person learn to appreciate other cultures if he or she doesn’t live among them?

Oh dear!  She did not. 
I just googled "racism in school" and got over seventeen MILLION hits.
Enough said there.

But just in case that ISN'T enough for you, Dear Reader, here is an article from, the self-proclaimed go-to website for all things related to school news. This article frighteningly reports case after case in the legal system of serious and injurious cases of racism and bullying in schools across the country. Sadly, this article from the BBC reports a rise in bullying in the school systems in our country, in spite of anti-bullying campaigns.

Additionally, and more apros pro, our amazing homeschool group has member families from every single major religion, race, and culture. From Christians to Muslims, from Africans to Australians, from the extremely wealthy to the extremely frugal, from the traditional family structures to same sex couples to single parents to trans peoples, our homeschool group allows my kids to interact intimately with human beings from the spectrum of humanity.

3. And don’t give me this “they still participate in activities with public school kids” garbage. Socialization in our grand multi-cultural experiment we call America is a process that takes more than an hour a day, a few times a week. Homeschooling, undoubtedly, leaves the child unprepared socially.

Well, she got it right here. Socialization IS this "grand multi-cultural experiment we call America". And THAT'S where we, as homeschoolers ARE. It certainly DOES take more than an hour a day. That is why, sadly, public schooling can leave children socially unprepared for "real life". Homeschoolers, after their three or four hours in lessons, are left with lots of time to actively volunteer and participate in the wonderful cultural activities of their hometowns, state, and nation.

2. Homeschooling parents are arrogant, Part 2. According to Henry Cate, who runs the Why Homeschool blog, many highly educated, high-income parents are “probably people who are a little bit more comfortable in taking risks” in choosing a college or line of work. “The attributes that facilitate that might also facilitate them being more comfortable with home-schooling.” 

Codicil to previous statement that homeschooling parents are, in fact, confident rather than arrogant: Not one parent has ever started homeschooling without reading, studying, learning, preparing, and becoming the best homeschooling parents possible. These are OUR CHILDREN.

If  homeschool didn't work, we wouldn't do it.
Each year I grow more secure, more confident that this works.  Why? Because I'm so sure I am right? 
NO! Because the proof is sitting in front of the table with the meatloaf. And because I continue to educate myself.
Also, Blogger, don't blame me for your willful misinterpretation of The author's use of the word "gamble" in the article to which you refer...

1.  And finally… have you met someone homeschooled? Not to hate, but they do tend to be pretty geeky.

But, in general, to be geeky connotes a certain inability to integrate and communicate in diverse social situations. Which, I would argue, is a likely result of being educated in an environment without peers. It’s hard to get by in such a diverse world as ours! And the more people you can hang out with the more likely you are to succeed, both in work life and real life.

There is no doubt that this author will come to retract these egregiously unkind and bullying words as she learns more about the institution to which she has just committed her life.
Did she really call my kids "geeks"?

This website reports of several old studies of homeschoolers and socialization. The overall findings of the studies were paraphrased by the author: The social skills of the homeschooled child will usually be superior to the social skills of the the privately or publicly schooled child. Say good-by to the myths about homeschooling and socialization! Here is a newer site with lots of great information on schooling outside of the "norm".
She might be a BIT biased.

Here are a few current studies to put this dang SOCIALIZATION question to bed.
And I can state here, unequivocally, socialization is one of the major reasons why we started homeschooling! And it's still a good reason! 

What criticisms really "get your goat"?
What do YOU really think about homeschooling?


UPDATE 02/07/2012):
A post on another blog was written in response to this one and I know you will love it.
Check it out at: 

If you enjoyed this post you may also like to read:
Homeschooling and Socialization


  1. Great post! And if being "geeky" is the most terrible thing that will befall my homeschooled kids, I am WAY ahead of the game! Go geeky kids! Um, don't the geeky folks have all the ideas, money and culture? I'd rather have my kid grow up to be Steve Jobs than some guy who still touts high school as "the best years of my life"!

  2. Ok I haven't finished reading yet but I had to stop and laugh after #4. While yes there are some who do homeschool to keep their kids away from certain groups of people the same can be said for those who send their children to exclusive private schools *which many of those families would do if they didn't have the right to homeschool*, not to mention the hate they would pick up when they are home from school as well. So #4 is just laughable. Nothing is going to stop parents from pushing their hate onto their children.

    And really does she not know about the large population of military homeschooling families *like us!* who live in other countries and are exposed to different languages, beliefs, and a whole other culture every single day?! Poor simple minded child. You are right though she will learn one day. Probably when she has to send her first born off to the wilderness of public school.

  3. *Had a typo in my second comment LOL.*

    Ok just finished reading. What the hell is her problem with geeks? Was she one of "those" kids in high school who thought her shit didn't stink and picked on the smart kids before copying their work? Me thinks she was. And now those "geeks" she picked on are off living in foreign lands, eating the finest foods, and she is stuck in her hometown, teaching an overcrowded class of kids who probably call her all sorts of names. Such a shame.

    Oh and in response to her kitchen table comment, when I was in school they gave vaccinations in the lunch room. Yes they had needles on the same table we had to eat off of just 30mins later. And this same school had to hold classes in there as well when they ran out of space, and when I was in high school the lunch room was used to give test such as the ASVAB. Because I like so many other children when to one of those poor understaffed, facility lacking public schools.

    And I like so many homeschoolers who have been in my shoes, know first hand that those places are no place for OUR children. :)

  4. LOL...thanks for the comments, Rayven and Cinder!
    This one was pretty fun to write.

  5. If you haven't seen THIS POST relating to my own, please do. It's great and may just relate some other thoughts I have on the issue...

  6. Jesse Scaccia, the person who wrote the original article is a he.

    I love your article, though.

    1. Is that right?! I had no idea! Thanks very much for the correction.


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