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Michael Johnston

It's interesting that you ask that homeschooling be judged the same as public schooling, yet you're not in favor, so far as I can see, of subjecting home-schooled students to the same sort of testing that public school students must get. How, then, are we to judge the performance of homeschool parents? How can we just assume that a parent is qualified to teach? None of your arguments address competence. In fact, your argument completely skips refuting the argument you say the NEA is making.

(Incidentally, I am NOT in favor of standardized testing; I merely raise the point that there's no oversight, not that I think standardized testing is the best way to do that.)

If a teacher shows consistent inability to teach properly, he loses his job -- assuming he ever managed to get one. But homeschool parents have no oversight -- or, rather, the oversight varies by district. If there was some sort of consistent oversight of homeschool students, I'd be more ok with the process than I am.

I do agree with you on the stupidity of the abuse argument -- that's just stupid.

I am disturbed, however, by some of your post. You link to an opinion piece, and say nothing about the fact it is NOT, in fact, a serious NEA position article. It is, in fact, a badly-written opinion by a guy with a mad-on, which isn't the most wonderful thing in the world, sure, but it doesn't mean the entire NEA is anti-homeschooling.

- Michael

Michael Johnston

Ok, I did some checking, and yes, the NEA is officially opposed to home schooling -- in a manner of speaking. Here's the full text of the NEA policy resolution:

B-73. Home Schooling

The National Education Association believes that home schooling programs based on parental choice cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience. When home schooling occurs, students enrolled must meet all state requirements. Home schooling should be limited to the children of the immediate family, with all expenses being borne by the parents/guardians. Instruction should be by persons who are licensed by the appropriate state education licensure agency, and a curriculum approved by the state department of education should be used.

The Association also believes that home-schooled students should not participate in any extracurricular activities in the public schools.

The Association further believes that local public school systems should have the authority to determine grade placement and/or credits earned toward graduation for students entering or re-entering the public school setting from a home school setting. (1988, 2003)

I do have some disagreements with that policy, but I have to say I do agree with the idea that -- with exceptions -- the average parent is not qualified to give the same quality of education that a team of teachers, each competent in his field, can give.

Note, though, that that only applies to high school teaching. In Elementary school level subjects, I think more people can do a decent job, but I don't agree that just because a parent WANTS to home school, they are qualified to do so. Knowing your child is not the same thing as knowing the best way to teach them.

John Long

Thanks for commenting Michael! I just got back from Mexico (post on that coming soon), so I didn't have a chance to respond to your first comment.
Which turns out well, since the main thing I was going to do was to point to the NEA resolution you found. This position by the NEA I consider to be one of the most jaded, arrogant and ignorant positions I have seen on the subject. I do recognize of course that "the NEA" doesn't unanimously have any particular position, but this insulting resolution has yet to be seriously challenged by any group within the NEA.

My original post was intended to address primarly that requiring parents to have the same education public teachers need is insane and insulting to all involved. I wasn't really trying to answer the broader question of what qualifications, if any, should be required of a homeschooling parent.

I agree that it is much easier to teach children through elementary and junior high school, at least entirely on your own. There are, however, a ton of options for getting your child taught in something you are unable to teach, and they certainly don't all involve some sort of institutional school setting, though that also is an option (as with Drew). Perhaps I'll post on this more at length soon, but I do tend to think that the very act of self selection for homeschool is an incredibly strong indication of qualification, certainly the vast majority of the time.

As far as "judging the same", I was specifically referring to the sexual abuse nonsense, not academic or others.

Michael Johnston

The thing to remember about the NEA and its position is this: The NEA is a professional association of teachers. Of COURSE they're going to say, as an associative entity, that teachers are better qualified to teach. It would be absurd for such an organization to say otherwise -- no one expects the AMA to say "Sure, diagnose and treat yourselves; you'll do fine!"

The NEA's job is to promote and support their members, so of course everything they say is somewhat slanted in that direction. Individuals, of course, have their own opinions; mine is somewhere in between yours and the organization's.


Hello out there. As both a teacher and a home schooling advocate I feel uniquely qualified to address this question.
In the first place, I am only going to talk about BELOW HIGH SCHOOL ages. There are many things about home-schooling that were touched on, but not fully addressed. For one, homeschool groups DO get together and hire teacher's for special classes that require labs, special expertise such as Latin or
or special rooms such as for gymnastics or square dancing. (Incidentally, I dare you to find these classes available in a public elementary school). There are many children who simply don't fit into the neat round-pegged, inflexible system required for teaching in the public schools.
As has been shown, there are many ways that a child can learn. Some are visual, auditory or even musical learners. Who best to administer these unique ways of learning than those who have lived with the child for years?
As a school teacher,it is a rare occasion that one finds a child who is truly better off competing for attention and love and encouragement from his/her teacher. I try to be what they can benefit most from, given the circumstances. I will not say that not one child thrives under the system, but I can say that most don't. Granted,the parent should be interested and willing to do what they can for the child. No more discussion now,I have a lesson plan to finish.

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