Monday, July 17, 2006

Homeschooling is a GREAT Idea!

I have become a COH junkie; every Tuesday you'll find me visiting the latest and greatest carnival to find out what has been going on in the homeschooling community. It also provides fodder for my blog, especially the comments. Now I really meant to link to the comments in the blog that prompted this post. But I couldn't find them again......................So much for my incredible memory. But there was a single guy with no kids asking questions about homeschooling. His two biggest worries about homeschooling were 1.) Who would report child abuse if kids are homeschooled (like the public schools do such a wonderful job?) and 2.) Kids would be brainwashed by their parents if they weren't exposed to Public Schools (who do their own brainwashing). I find it troubling that anyone would think it is the GOVERNMENT'S duty/responsibility to watch over children from cradle to grave and that without government interference parents are incapable of doing a decent job. The majority of parents, homeschooling parents included, have their children's best interest at heart and would never dream of abusing them. And what about all the public school teacher's that abuse students? The guy stated that thanks to his public school education he has beliefs and values radically different from those his parents have. Sounds like the public schools do their own form of brainwashing, but that's another post. Homeschoolers do not live in a vacuum. Homeschool students watch TV, go to movies, listen to the radio, and play with neighborhood friends just like public school students do. So they have ample opportunity to be exposed to ideas differing from their parents. And why does single guy assume that his beliefs and values garnered from his life in public school are somehow superior to his parents? It seems to me that public schools are nothing more then breeding grounds for the latest politically correct ideas or feel good policies these days. Some how their goal to educate the masses has been tossed aside.

But at least single guy seemed honestly interested in finding out more about homeschooling. Not so the public school teacher from FL., Jeanne, who not only bashed homeschoolers on the Why Homeschool site, but felt compelled to link to this post By Robert Paul Reyes on her site. Mr. Reyes assumes parents are STUPID (apparently his are). Not only can I balance a checkbook, I can find Iraq just fine on a map - thank you. As for teaching Algebra and Geometry, it's not a problem for me, but if it was there are tutors and co-ops to supply help for parents that need it. Homeschool parents aren't limited to teaching everything themselves. As for parents being rank amateurs, perhaps Mr. Reyes is unaware that eleven U.S. Presidents were homeschooled by rank amateurs. See Home Schooling for Success to read about other famous, successful homeschoolers.

He then goes on to state that homeschoolers will be social misfits and turn into monsters like Jerry Dalhmer (I think he must have meant Jeffrey Dahmer, Jerry Dalhmer is a fictional character in a law school examination) and Paul Hill. There is only one big problem with his theory. Both Dalhmer and Hill were graduates of PUBLIC schools. Jeffrey Dahmer graduated from a public high school in Ohio and Paul Hill attended Coral Gables High School, a public school in Florida. Other infamous PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS are Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold who slaughtered fellow classmates at Columbine. Public schools seem to be doing an excellent job of creating social misfits, Mr. Reyes.

Then Mr. Reyes goes on to add that most homeschoolers are religious zealots and if homeschooling is allowed to continue homeschoolers will turn America into a theocracy. Geez it makes you wonder what Mr. Reyes has against religion and how a product of the public school system like Mr. Reyes could be so misinformed and narrow minded. First off the United States Constitution in the First Amendment guarantees us the right to freedom of religion. This means Americans are free to worship as they see fit. They are even free to teach their children about God. So Mr. Reyes, just because you don't approve of someone's religious beliefs doesn't mean you or the government has the right to stop him or her from teaching those beliefs to their children. Secondly most homeschoolers aren't religious zealots. More and more homeschoolers are homeschooling for reasons other then religion. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's report Homeschooling in the United States: Trends and Characteristics by Kurt J. Bauman 50.8% of homeschoolers were primarily homeschooling because they believed they could give their children a better education at home then they would receive in the public school system. Only 33% were homeschooling primarily for religious reasons.

Mr. Reyes then goes on to say that while he knows the public schools are in a dismal state Homeschoolers should just join the PTA or become a Teacher's Assistant. Wow, the same parents that Mr. Reyes maintains can't balance checkbooks or find Iraq on a map have the power to FIX the public schools when all the educational professionals can't????? And why should I settle for a substandard education for my children while raising money through the PTA to support the substandard public education system?

Next Mr. Reyes states that homeschooling poses a serious threat to our educational system. Why? Because homeschooling works and public schools don’t?

Perhaps Mr. Reyes would like to explain how my 15-year-old son scored so high on the ACT, that he was able to get early admission to college if homeschooling is such an utter failure? And contrary to what Mr. Reyes would have you believe my son gets along well with his college classmate (even though they are older then him), as well as his co-workers at his summer job.

Mr. Reyes then claims that we have the best public school system in the world. But is that true? According to the U.S. Department of Education Study - Findings from the Condition of Education 2006: U.S. Student and Adult Performance on International Assessments of Educational Achievement: Students in Finland, Canada, and New Zealand did better then students in the United States on Reading Literacy. Students in Switzerland, Norway Bermuda and Canada out preformed the United States in Mathematics (Only Italy’s score was lower then the United States average). And in Science Literacy Finland, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia, Netherlands, Czech Republic, New Zealand, Canada, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Sweden, Ireland, Hungary and Germany all out preformed the United States.

And then there is the fact that HOMESCHOOLERS out perform PUBLIC and PRIVATE school students on test. According to a study done for the Educational Policy Analysis Archives by Lawrence M. Rudner -

“Compared to students nationwide, the median fourth-grade home school student test performance is 1.1 grade equivalents above his public/private school peers. By 8th grade, the median performance of home school students on the ITBS/TAP is almost four grade equivalents above that of students nationwide. Similar trends hold for all subject areas.”

Based on this study, maybe we should require all parents to homeschool.

Mr. Reyes claims to be a columnist for the Lynchburg Ledger, I suppose it's really hard to find qualified columnist. I agree whole heartedly with the blogger at who labeled Mr. Reyes a Jackass, he certainly seems better qualified for that. And I loved Chris O’Donnell’s question, “Can we also pass a law making it illegal for anybody with a double digit IQ to be employed as a journalist?”
So Mr. Reyes, Homeschooling isn’t a GOOD idea, it’s a GREAT idea!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Really Good Book

Angels Fall
by Nora Roberts

It's a really good read if you like murder mysteries. You'll never guess who the killer is...............and Reece and Brody are a really hot, funny couple, plenty of romance to spice up the mystery.