Friday, January 11, 2008

Those ignorant home schoolers

Here's an interesting title from a home school blog I caught online today: "Saint Daniel the Stylite Academy: Catholic Charlotte Mason-influenced eclectic literary Montessori-ish orthodox theatrical trivium-inspired unschooly"

Next time a public school advocate starts running down home schooling for denying children an adequate education, I'll point this site out to them and see if they can even understand any of the references in the title.


One Brow said...

Naturally, any enterprise as small as a home school has the ability to far exceed a large-group classroom, or to fall far short of it. Much like in the business world, where thousands of small business expand rapidly, or go broke, for every large company that does so.

Anonymous said...

I would be surprised if, on average, home schooled children didn't outperform public schooled children. Any parents who are willing to put in the time and effort required of home schooling ought to do better than public school teachers who have to deal with larger classes and, more importantly, disruptive students.

Of course, public schools are essential for those families who don't have the time, ability, or concern to home school.

Are there really that many public school advocates running down home schooling? If so, a better argument should be made than listing one website, as lowbrow has pointed out. Certainly many charter schools are atrocious.

And "unschooly"?

j a higginbotham

Anonymous said...

"one brow"
[Sorry, early Alzheimer's kicking in again.]


Sally Thomas said...

Thank you for the link.

Re "unschooly" -- I mean we're not very structured. I don't have a schoolroom or desks, and I don't use much prepared curriculum, preferring "living" literature to textbooks, generally. We're not replicating a school environment at home, and we tend to follow our interests a lot (though not exclusively). In this, though not in every regard, we tend philosophically towards unschooling.

And there's an entire universe of websites like mine (only better, mostly!) if you want arguments.

There are statistics which suggest that homeschoolers do outperform public-schooled children. Of course there's variation from child to child, and from family to family, but this is true in any schooling situation.

I will say this: having taught English in a public high school and a public university, I am now teaching a one-day-a-week English class to ten homeschooled 9th- and 10-graders, including my own oldest daughter. While the kids in this group are all over the map in terms of both natural ability and preparedness for dealing with what I'm throwing at them (which would be the case in a public-school classroom as well), I have observed the following:

* I would take this group over any of my former students for politeness and enthusiasm any day.

* I would take this group for willingness to learn what they don't already know and, even more importantly, for self-motivation and ability to learn independently.

* the ones who haven't had a whole lot of formation in writing still know more than I do about the Punic Wars

* the student who struggles most in my class is the one who spent the longest in public school

* the strongest writers in my class are the students coming from less-formally-structured learning environments at home.

Take all that anecdotal stuff for what it's worth. But yes, there are public-school advocates interested in running down homeschooling; take the NEA for starters. Fortunately the homeschooling world isn't depending on my website for its defense.