As might be guessed by most of my positions, I am an advocate of homeschooling, and more generally, any non-public form of schooling. My wife and I intend to homeschool our children (when we have them) for a multitude of reasons I won't go into now.
Now, I just want to address one of the most common, but IMHO, the most irritating arguments against allowing parents to teach their own children: they aren't qualified.
The NEA (national teachers union) in particular holds this view, though that is hardly surprising. It essentially goes like this: Teachers in public schools are required to have 4 years of training to teach children. What makes parents think they are qualified without any training at all to teach their children? A particularly lame example is here.
The simplest argument which I haven't seen enough of to refute this goes as follows:
Public teachers must:
- Teach 20-30 children at once.
- Teach children they have never met before.
- Teach children from dozens of different backgrounds.
- Teach all 20-30 children the same curriculum, no matter how disparate their abilities.
- Conform to numerous state and federal laws and testing requirements.
- Teach children with almost no influence over their home life (amount of sleep, reading encouraged, help with homework).
Homeschool Parents must:
- Teach their own children only.
- Teach children whom they have known since birth.
- Teach children with one identical background.
- Teach children the curriculum that makes sense for them based on their abilities and interests.
- Conform to few state laws and no federal laws.
- Teach children for whom they control every aspect of the home environment.
To say that homeschool parents are not qualified because they cannot do the job of a public school teacher is actually to gravely insult public school teachers! Clearly, a public teaching job is orders of magnitude more difficult than a parent teaching their own children.
There's one more argument I find so offensive that I'll address it here too: Homeschool can be used to mask parental abuse of children.
This one is offensive (implying very nasty motives of all homeschooling parents), but also persuasive because, if you're being honest, it's got to be happening somewhere. The obvious arguments, and it amazes me that these do not occur to people the moment they write this insulting statement are as follows:
- Many, many children are abused while going to public schools, and this in no way benefits them.
- Some school teachers use TEACHING as a way to mask abuse of children, and as a way to have access to a steady supply of abusees.
- The chances of being harrased or abused in school are alarmingly high.
- There are very few proven instances of homeschool being used as a mask for abuse.
All I ask is that homeschooling be judged the same way as public schooling, and, IMHO, once it is you simply can't argue that it is the more dangerous of the two.