Say a prayer for my son, Cameron, tonight. At Little League practice for his brother, he stepped on a mound of ants. In a split second, his body was covered, horror movie style. His light blue shirt looked black. :( I took off his clothes there at the school and managed to eventually get the ants off his body. We went to Walgreens, got some benedryl and spray. Areas on his hands, neck, leg and arms are covered with angry looking white bites.
"So anyway, my question to Joanne is: were you objecting to the compulsion? – in which case I'm with you. Or to the phonics? – in which case I think you are turning your back on some very good stuff, the best stuff on the teaching of literacy that I personally know about." Regarding my response to this article.
To answer your question, I am objecting to the assumption that more and earlier instruction by non parents is the answer to literacy concerns. The longer I homeschool, the more frustrated I get at the government school's answer to everything. Essentially, each answer includes more of the system that created the problem.
In reading the article again, I wanted to make a couple of comments. One is that I agree with the author's bias towards true phonics rather than the sight word and phonics learned through deconstruction.
I don't, however, agree that reading level at 7 is an accurate barometer of reading or life success at 10, 12 or 40.
I believe that teaching reading and potty training have much in common. A parent can spend weeks, months or years teaching the skills needed for each. They can cajole, encourage, reward, punish or coerce. Or, they can *wait* those times and read great books to the child in the meantime. A ready child will learn either skill (reading, using the potty) in a matter of days. At 10, the early potty users or early readers are no different than those who reached mastery at later ages.
I wanted to say that Izzy and Steph (one sixteenth) posted the article I sarcastically opine against below. I would have told you that below, but it would have taken away from the scathing, angry tone I worked hard to cultivate.
If you have a moment in between spouting NEA rhetoric and indoctrinating children, can you read this?
You said: "Home schooling is an extension of the misguided notion that "anyone can teach." No, homeschooling is the result of many things.
1) A desire to have a lifestyle that celebrates and honors family
2) A conclusion that the scope and sequence of a institutional learning environment isn't determined adequate or desirable
3) A need to embrace one's faith and spirituality in a way precluded by public school
4) A concern created by the risks in public education setting (bullying, drugs, alcohol, peer dependency......)
Homeschooling is a response (often a proactive rather than a reactive one) to the misguided notion that institutional learning is the best place for kids.
You said:That notion is simply wrong. Recently, some of our best and brightest college graduates, responding to the altruistic call to "Teach for America," failed as teachers because they lacked training. Good teaching is a complex act that involves more than simply loving children."
I agree. I completely agree. However, I fail to see what that has to do with homeschooling. Being an effective teacher in a school setting *requires* many positive attributes and characteristics. Homeschooling, however, is a completely different approach to learning. Homeschoolers don't have to be great teachers. They have to be great homeschoolers.
You said: Research on student achievement overwhelmingly supports the "common-sense" logic that the most important factor affecting student learning is teacher competency. While some parents may be competent to teach very young children, that competence will wane in more advanced grades as the content and complexity increases.
Research! Yes, let's talk research! Have you seen or read the research that documents the academic superiority of homeschooled students?
You said: But schools serve important functions far beyond academic learning. Attending school is an important element in the development of the "whole child." Schools, particularly public schools, are the one place where "all of the children of all of the people come together." Can there be anything more important to each child and thus to our democratic society than to develop virtues and values such as respect for others, the ability to communicate and collaborate and an openness to diversity and new ideas? Such virtues and values cannot be accessed on the Internet.
Ah, yes, the "socialization" question, presented with a bit more sophistication. :) Schools are not proven to be the best socialization vehicle for children. They are the most common, however.
You assume that homeschooled children are sheltered from (the god of) diversity. You also assume that homeschoolers sit glued to the 'net?
Any google search on the topic will show the wide amount of options available for homeschoolers in terms of activities and curriculum.
You said: The isolation implicit in home teaching is anathema to socialization and citizenship. It is a rejection of community and makes the home-schooler the captive of the orthodoxies of the parents.
I'm a bit at a loss as to how to respond to this, Dennis. Even a cursory survey of homeschool curriculum options will show a focus on community, patriotism and citizenship.
I've yet to meet or hear about a truly isolated home learning family. Your assumption of isolation seems to assume that home teaching takes as many hours as public teaching. Happily, that is not the case. It takes homeschoolers less time in formal academics to achieve the superior test scores I mentioned earlier.
I'll have to cut this response short, soon, as my son needs to go to Little League practice. It should be fun, although we are tired from our homeschool park day earlier today. Oh, and I need to stop by the store and get snacks. I'm responsible for snacks at Cub Scouts on Monday. I also have to get a pair of sneakers for my daughter to wear during the performing arts class for homeschoolers next week.........
Sorry for the digression! ;)
You said: One of the strengths of our educational system is the wide range of legitimate forms of public, private or parochial schooling available for parental choice.
Yes, parental choice should continued to be honored. Happily I live in a country that honors the fact that homeschooling is a legitamite educational choice.
You said: With that in mind, those contemplating home teaching might heed the words of the Roman educator, Quintilian (A.D. 95). In opposing home schooling, he wrote, "It is one thing to shun schools entirely, another to choose from them."
I'm not familiar with that educator. When we get to studying that time period, I will make sure my children and I learn more.
I had been in prayer about Larsen's extracurricular activities. Specifically about whether to move her Girl Scout troop membership to the homeschooled (only) group. Right now, having Andrew in a mixed group in Boy Scouts doesn't bother me. The Girl Scouts, however, appear more trendy and come up against some of the values and traditions I want my dd to have. So, I thought the homeschooled group might be a better match. When Larsen's "mixed" Troop leader resigned, I thought that was my answer. Until, that is, I discovered that the homeschool group didn't have room for her. :/
In the meantime, I had heard of an opportunity for homeschoolers on my side of town (which is significant where I live). It includes 50 homeschooled kids 6-14. Every Tuesday, they learn dance and performing arts. Every week they also learn art or voice, which alternates. This year's production is Annie. :)
There is some cost involved. A big (to us, right now) monthly fee and a production fee. However, it does meet on a day that we weren't doing formal academics. In that respect, it would add to my children's learning and not require an(other) adjustment to the schedule.
So.......I'm going to enroll them. (the older two) It's particularly a match for my dd but I believe my son will also benefit from it. They start today. I'm hoping Cameron will be more happy to have "Mom" by himself than upset that he isn't able to participate.