Homeschooling: It's not what we do, it's how we live.

Competency?

So I have been surfing the ‘net, reading blogs and articles about homeschooling and I came across this one that asks the question, “Does homeschooling do a disservice to kids?”. It’s an argument-and-rebuttal style article that talks about who is short changed. It was short and fairly uninteresting … until I came to this line:

“Then there’s the question of a parent’s aptitude. Parents may have the right to control their child’s education but do they have the right to practice an occupation without any skill?”

How many “parents” have absolutely zero experience with children before they have their own? By that logic, no couple should be allowed to conceive a child until they have demonstrated proficiency at child-rearing. To assert that a parent is incapable of nurturing her child’s education is ludicrous. The competent parent will recognize where she needs more knowledge and seek it – either through education or apprenticeship to a more learned peer. In the event that she is unable to acquire the necessary education or training,  a competent parent will seek someone who can provide what her child needs. She may learn along with her child, stay up late reading up on a subject or she may seek a tutor or co-op where homeschooling families support each other in order to provide her child with what she lacks.

I find that statement offensive. It is the indoctrination of thought that institutionalized education should be the gold standard that is the flaw in this equation. How different would things be if instead, the home, where children are loved and nurtured in every way (including academically) was the standard and everything else had to  measure up to that? If instead of being admonished for possibly doing irreparable harm through hopeless inadequacy by homeschooling their children, parents were encouraged and supported by both the experts and the public educational system? If they were given easy access to tools and materials that would make the job of educating their children easier?

Instead, parents have their confidence constantly undermined by “experts” who are holding up a flawed model as the gold standard of educational excellence; experts who readily acknowledge that the model is flawed, but don’t have faith in a parent’s ability to successfully prepare her children for life in the real world. Parents, who have a keen personal interest in their children and have only their best interests at heart, are more motivated, I would say, to ensure that their children are well-educated and individually prepared than the under-paid expert who must divide her time among 20+ children.

And really, how much “training” do teachers have that is directly related to breaking down information or concepts and conveying them to children? How much time is spent on classroom management? Dealing with parents? Learning the bureaucracy of “being” a teacher? In contrast, every parent has some skill or hobby that they’ll teach their child, intentional or not. The father who plays guitar, the mom who is practically a gourmet chef… both will likely pass that knowledge on to their kids and neither will have trouble “teaching” their kids those skills. Every parent has a subject on which he or she is a minor expert – chances are that knowledge, too, will be passed to the child. Children learn! People learn! It’s in our nature to do so. Just because we parents haven’t spent time in a classroom having someone tell us how to teach our kids doesn’t mean that we’re unskilled or incapable of learning as we go. Furthermore, *I* am a hell of a lot more familiar with how my child learns than any teacher is. Upon entering Kindergarten, I have spent 5+ years of daily interaction with my child. By the end of the first day, a teacher may have spent all of 26 minutes with my kid… and she is the “expert” on educating MY child? I think not.

… and because I like posts with pictures better than ones without, I found this one and felt it applied in this situation:

Warmly,

~h

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