Are Parents Who Homeschool Qualified to Teach Their Kids?

Rant 563

My wife is a teacher. An Earth Science teacher. For the eighth grade. Yeah, I don't get it either.

Super boring subject. Worst grade in the world to teach, what with all those insanely raging hormones. But that's where she ended up, and I'll admit, it is pretty cool when she points out something I didn't know about the weather or the stars.

When we first got married, she was going through all the training necessary to become a teacher. A ridiculous amount of studying. Planning. Student Teaching. She even had to videotape herself giving a lesson, as well as undergo a number of classroom observations. In other words, it wasn't as simple as grabbing a ruler, heading to the front of the classroom, and, BAM, you're a teacher.

Which is why I'm completely baffled by the entire homeschooling arena. I'm not trying to bash anyone here, but I really have no clue how homeschooling works. I mean, how are regular parents even qualified to teach their kids, when public school teachers need to go through such rigorous training?

Just because you can read doesn't mean you're qualified to teach your kids. Sure, every parent is a teacher in his or her own right. We all teach our kids morals, hygiene, and the ways of the world. But I'm talking about a full-fledged education here. The kind of learning that will help them master the English language, conquer Pythagorean's theorem, and understand exactly why volcanoes erupt.

Then, of course, there's the entire social aspect of school. Yes there are bullies, and food fights, and detention, and way too many cliques. But school really is just a microcosm of the real world. It's one thing to protect and shelter your young kids from harm, but what happens when these kids grow up, get a job, and face the same type of obnoxious people in the real world? Will they be able to cut it?

Half of school is actual book learning; the other half is social skill learning. Learning how to make friends. Learning how to deal with or ignore enemies. Learning responsibility, cooperation, team building, independence, etc.

Home also offers a place of refuge from school. Had a tough day? You can just head home after school and relax a bit. Out of sight, out of mind. But if you're homeschooled, you actually live in school! There is no escape from it. You don't even have homework, or rather, EVERYTHING you do is homework. There is no escape.

I'm not saying I'm completely against homeschooling; I just don't understand the benefits of it at all. What makes it a better experience over a public school education? How do you round out your child's social interactions? How do you separate home life from school life, or is it eternally linked?

I guess the biggest thing I don't understand is how any parent can just grab a book and a curriculum and start teaching their kids at home. No observations, testing, licensing, certifications, etc.

This might be a bit extreme, but if you needed to have surgery, would you go to a doctor who taught himself medicine purely on his own at home? Or would you prefer going to one who graduated from a top medical school and learned from experienced hands-on teachers?

Do you think parents should need credentials to homeschool their kids?

Photo via Lyn Lomasi/Flickr

homeschooling, homeschool


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nonmember avatar blue

You say, " I really have no clue how homeschooling works." Well, then. Perhaps, you shouldn't write an article on how bad it is. Idiot.

nonmember avatar heather

so you said yourself, you have no idea how homeschooling works...yet you bash it unmercifully? hmn

buffa... buffalove23

I'm just going to make some popcorn...this should get fun

nonmember avatar Seriously

I agree with your article completely. Only I can say I am against homeschooling. In every case I've ever known the kids are weirdos and the parents aren't qualified. Until I see a kid come out normal and well adjusted I'm not changing my mind. I think credentials or something would be a start but it's still not going to make it normal or ok to shelter your kid to that extreme... I'm not saying it should be banned but I will honestly say I very much so judge homeschooled kids and parents..

belon... belongs2Jesus

 "I really have no clue how homeschooling works."


then don't speak out of your ignorance

jen.boyd jen.boyd

Why am I not surprised this article is written by a man, who admits he has 'no clue how homeschooling works'. I would be more than happy to put my child up against a child taught by your 'rigorous trained' wife and let's see who is smarter. All I'm going to say about public school is, you get what you pay for.

nonmember avatar Blueathena623

People homeschool for a variety of reasons. One reason is not agreeing with the curriculum from a scholastic standpoint (as I'm sure you realize with your wife, there are certain things that are taught, and certain things that aren't, unfortunately usually due to the nations obsession with standardized testing). There are children who are pulled out of school because of social reasons (such as bullying). There are people who homeschool for religious reasons. And some students are homeschooled in the sense that they stay at home but actually do learn from the same curriculum -- virtual schools are huge and getting bigger, even for elementary school kids. As for the social aspect, many homeschoolers get together with other homeschoolers and have activities.
All that being said, I know several homeschool moms who are dumber ban a box of rocks and I worry for their children (I also work in education) because curriculum aside, there are things we expect people to know, and if you're teaching your kids that dinosaurs don't exist (religious curriculum, not every curriculum, but the one I know about) or refusing to teach math because "everyone has calculators" yore putting your kids at a disadvantage.

SLMit... SLMitchell

What, exactly, was the point of this article?  All I got from it was you speaking ill of parents who homeschool, while at the same time admitting you know nothing about homeschooling.

nonmember avatar Blueathena623

Of course it doesn't help the matter that advocates for homeschoolers tend to bash public school teachers, because apparently we are all lazy gits who aren't at all frustrated by the system and are purposefully trying to screw up children.

ashjo85 ashjo85

I think if you have the time or inclination to homeschool in the early years, go for it. More individual focus, varied curriculums and more wiggle room to tailor lessons and work into real life. But I think as a child gets into the middle school and especially the high school years, they'd benefit MUCH more from being in a social setting and taking advantage of the many founts of knowledge, technologies and connections that those upper schools offer. I can't see homeschooling past 6th grade or so.

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