I had hopes that this article from The Jewish Exponentwould have a novel viewpoint about homeschooling, other than ‘how to stay a part of the Jewish community.’ The writer seems to think that homeschooling families ectoplasmify into a world in which we’re fully visible, but are unable to feel the influence of everyday mortals. The overall ‘don’t try this at home’ flavor seeps out from between the lines although quotations from homeschoolers ‘balance’ the article. Questions pop up at every turn, along with quotes from educational experts, and even an allusion to parents who are out and out crooks.
To Be or Not to Be in the Classroom?, 29 November 2007, Jewish Exponent, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
But what about her social development? …
Her mother responded — like many homeschool parents do — …
… an associate professor of sociology .., who has extensively studied the phenomenon …
On the other side of the fence, … associate professor of education … said that homeschooling could potentially limit a child’s exposure to new ideas, experiences and perspectives.
Other comments within the article are equally backhanded:
But are these children being educated to the same academic standards as kids enrolled in public or private schools? As far as certain test scores go, homeschoolers often point to evidence that their kids are better-educated.
The writer questions whether homeschooling parents effectively guide the educations of their children. The answer provided is not the newsflash of all those homeschooled applicant accepted by colleges and universities. The answer is “evidence” from people who have what could be seen as a conflict of interest, the “homeschoolers.”
Next comes a study showing homeschooled kids’ standardized test scores ranking in the 75th to 85th percentiles. The following paragraph, though, gives other “evidence” by a pro-homeschool academic whose studies showed:
After taking the SAT-9 — a test that’s part of California’s Standardized Testing and Reporting Program — the homeschoolers earned average scores in the 54th percentile in reading, language and math. Their scores slightly beat the average student’s score, which was in the 50th percentile, according to the study.
So we’re almost even-steven. Either we do as well as the public school teachers, or they do as well as we do.
In light of this result, does the writer have a beef because homeschool test averages in one state are close to the national average of 50% (which has to be the average on normed standardized tests)? If a 50% average is good enough for the use of taxpayer money, why can’t private money settle for the same result? [please read that with tongue-in-cheek]
The article goes back and forth, back and forth with subtly phrased objections and answers. The writer gives an emphasis to how homeschoolers work hard to provide the all-important Socialization.
During the hourlong lunch period, the children are lightly supervised — … This leaves the kids to decide, on their own, where to sit and who to socialize with during their free time. Whether they realize it or not, these homeschoolers are getting a lunchroom experience that’s not much different from the environment at a public school, where kids often use this particular time to gain acceptance from peers or carve out their own social setting.
Well, thank goodness for that. The thing that homeschoolers have valued most are experiences that replicate public school. [reinsert tongue in cheek]
The follow-up at the end, whisks away the curtain of veiled condemnation:
But does anyone really know if parents are homeschooling their children well? Who checks in to see if parents are properly educating their children — or even educating them at all?
I’ll bet the buggers let the kids pee in the pool, too.
In Pennsylvania, that job falls to the school district. To homeschool in the state, families must first register with the state Department of Education. …
To help guide homeschoolers so that their children can keep pace with those who do attend school, the department provides specific academic standards for students, …
Before getting started, a family must also ensure that their children have been properly immunized, and that parents were never convicted of certain criminal offenses, deems the state.
I don’t know what “deems the state” means in this instance, but the paragraph spells out that the writer deems The State to be The Proper Authorities Concerning Kids. Especially in light of those criminals, who I hope are in jail without legal custody of anyone if they committed any of the following crimes within the last five years.
1) An offense under one or more of the following provisions of Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes:
Chapter 25 (relating to criminal homicide).
Section 2702 (relating to aggravated assault).
Section 2709 (relating to harassment and stalking).
Section 2901 (relating to kidnapping).
Section 2902 (relating to unlawful restraint).
Section 3121 (relating to rape).
Section 3122.1 (relating to statutory sexual assault).
Section 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse).
Section 3124.1 (relating to sexual assault).
Section 3125 (relating to aggravated indecent assault).
Section 3126 (relating to indecent assault).
Section 3127 (relating to indecent exposure).
Section 4302 (relating to incest).
Section 4303 (relating to concealing death of child).
Section 4304 (relating to endangering welfare of children).
Section 4305 (relating to dealing in infant children).
A felony offense under section 5902(b) (relating to prostitution and related offenses).
Section 5903(c) or (d) (relating to obscene and other sexual materials and performances).
Section 6301 (relating to corruption of minors).
Section 6312 (relating to sexual abuse of children).
I mean, really now!
When all is said and done, even with the amount of time and responsibility most homeschool parents devote to the enterprise, it seems that the stigma of homeschooling has yet to be dispelled.
Gee, I wonder why?
posted by Valerie