The following article is a nice one. It tells the story of a successful young woman who set aside her personal ambitions to give her kids a good start in life, and even coined a phrase for herself about it. She calls it "a homeschooling heart." The article tells about the children, and what they think of their homeschooling life, and details some of their homeschooling adventures, such as the one to the Grand Canyon. Overall the article is very sweet.
- The Sentinel-News, Shelbyville, Kentucky, 5 February 2006, Hearts for homeschooling: Learning goes on everywhere
They bought some books and gave the concept a try with Drew. Gradually, Ladina said, they discovered what she called "the heart of homeschooling.
"When you’re willing to set aside your ambitions and goals in life, and shepherd and nurture your children in all areas of education — that’s a homeschooling heart," Ladina said.
But, damn, smack in the middle of the article, Public Schooling raises its head.
- Elaine Farris, superintendent of Shelby County Public Schools, agreed that parents have the right to decide their children’s education method. "And I strongly feel that public education does the best job with that," Farris said.
Public schools offer opportunities for diversity, socialization and education that some homeschools can’t do, she said.
"We do it all," Farris continued. "We provide particular resources that meet the needs of every kid that comes into our school. We provide that, and it’s free of charge.
"That’s the best-kept secret in America," she said. "Whether it’s federal government or state government or whatever, that’s our mantra: we try to meet the needs of every kid."
And what does that have to do with homeschooling? Or the family? The reporter veered off topic.
In writing about a subject, stick to that subject. Sports writers don’t say how tennis provides more aerobic activity than bowling. In the Olympics (Apolo!), the reporters don’t carp that short track speed skating goes more slowly than the luge. Reporters writing about local Sunfish regattas don’t hector the participants because they aren’t sailing Tall Ships.
What is the public school fixation in articles about homeschooling?
In articles about public schools, there are no obligatory paragraphs about how much more the bureaucracy costs than homeschooling. In reports of school bus tragedies, there are no interpolations about how, if these kids had stayed home, they wouldn’t have been killed or injured. The weekly high school sports reports in local papers about the Panthers trouncing the Wildcats don’t include an interview with a homeschool mom whose children play soccer at a community club.
So why quote public school officials concerning homeschooling?
Is The Mouse That Roared such a threat to a system whose customers are compelled to use it, and many of whose employees have unionized political power at both the state and federal levels? What is it about the educational choice by homeschoolers, that requires an ‘objective’ inclusion? And why is ‘objectivity’ needed? Reports about public universities don’t include asides about private universities. Reviews of paintings don’t promote that medium’s superiority over collage. Book reviews don’t bring film-making techniques into question. And reports on parochial schools don’t include interviews with public school officials saying how much better public schooling is than private schooling.
Yes, I’ve gone overboard with the comparisons, but only because there are so many comparisons to be made.
If the article is about comparison of homeschooling, private schooling and public schooling, compare the systems across the board in terms of cost to the community, convenience, infrastructure, property values, ecological impact, and so on. If the article is about homeschooling, let the article be about homeschooling, just as articles about participants in the other systems have articles about only themselves. Public schooling gets enough ink, they don’t need publicity using ours.