Manila Standard Today, Manila, Philippines, 15 November 2006, Parents and homeschooling
Homeschooling is not always a last resort, though. For some, it is a conscious choice over traditional schooling. What is so amazing is how some parents seem to be more competent in defining quality education.
In many schools, especially the ones with large student populations, there is a tendency to treat students as nothing than mere statistics. Traditional education often misses out on the glaring fact that students are individuals with unique strong points and weak points, learning curves, interests and goals. I’ve heard far too many stories about teachers who have not memorized some pupils’ names by the end of the school year.
But the parents’ right to choose to homeschool their children is not universally accepted. The Konrad family of Herbolzheim, Germany … had been homeschooling their children, but the German government slapped fines on them. It threw the father into jail for violating the law on compulsory public school attendance.
The real issue was religious freedom and the inevitable question as to whether it is in the best interests of the children to be educated within the limits of the parents’ religious beliefs. In a world where the fanaticism and bigotry of religious zealots have spawned so much hatred and misunderstanding, I do agree that it is in the best interests of the child to be exposed to different ideologies and philosophies so that he can be better equipped to make informed choices later in life.
Parents like to think that they always know what’s best for their children but, sadly, that is not always the case. Parents are humans bound by their own (sometimes twisted) beliefs and prejudices. And it would be a crime to pass on those beliefs and prejudices to the children without the children even being aware of it. Inasmuch as parents do have the right to raise their children the way they see fit, including how they should be educated, that right must be tempered with the rights of the child to learn that he has the right to choose a life different from his parents’.
On the one hand, I can see this viewpoint having a valid base, but the part that (for me) throws a monkey wrench in the works is that, probably for the most part, the parents with radical viewpoints weren’t raised in the allegedly hothouse atmosphere of a homeschooling home.
Radicals with breakaway viewpoints were part of the human population before public schooling was a trend, and have been since then. The radicals that come easily to mind (using van Loon as a guide because Thanksgiving is breathing down my neck) are Akhenaten and his radical monotheism, Abram who left Ur of the Chaldees, Moses, the various prophets of the Tanakh/Old Testament, Buddha, (dunno ’bout Confucius), Socrates (!), Joshua of Nazareth (Jesus), Ahmed the camel driver (Mohammed), Luther, our Founding Fathers and Mothers. Those of us who experienced the 1960s can remember many radical groups, none of whom I ever heard credited with being homeschooled.
I also don’t know that homeschooling has been around long enough to produce the contemporary number of parents who are homeschooling their children for (what looks to many people) extreme ideological reasons. Those home-educating parents were — for the most part — probably institutionally schooled.
Using the supposition that at-home education will produce a generation of [insert your favorite dream/strongest fear about non-publicly educated people], is this concern borne out by the actions of people who were educated before public education became a trend? Were all pre-public ed citizens either radicalized by moonbat families, or were they carriers of family values in tune with the dominant mores of their respective cultures which were untainted by public ed diktat?
Even taking into consideration the advice to ‘train up a child,’ if children are so malleable why are there reports that the strongly ideological churches are losing the children to the secular culture?
Exodus Mandate, Frontline Ministries, Columbia, South Carolina, 18 September 2001, We Are Losing Our Children
We are losing our children. Research indicates that 70%of teens who are involved in a church youth group will stop attending church within two years of their high school graduation.
So, here we have young adults leaving belief systems because they’re exposed to public school, but yet publicly-educated parents embrace homeschooling. The simple evidence of these few viewpoints is inconclusive as to which education system will either harm or benefit the molding of the viewpoints of people while they are children. Nature? Nurture? The hand that rocks the cradle? Give them to me before they’re seven? Give them exposure to Everything?
Is there a trend either way as to whether raising children with a unified viewpoint is better, or giving them universal exposure is better, or is the problem one of there being people in the world who don’t think like ‘I’ do?
And now, if you’ll excuse me, Life just threw me a curve and I need to go find enough turkey for 14 people, and some trimmings. Pronto.